Study of Cryphonectria parasitica, Chestnut Blight, in East Texas
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The iconic fungal pathogen Cryphonectria parasitica, the causal agent of chestnut blight, is known for the phenomenon of hypovirulence attributed to dsRNA. Hypovirulence is a trait caused by infection of the fungus with a virus that debilitates the pathogen and is proposed as a potential biocontrol for chestnut blight. C. parasitica has not been officially studied in Texas even though the pathogen has been established a lives on native tree species in eastern Texas. Studies were done by characterizing the morphology and virulence of isolates collected from a tree in Tatum, Texas and compared to known a known hypovirulent isolate and a wild type. The East Texas isolates contained abnormal morphology that are associated traits of hypovirulence such as sectoring, reduced growth, and discoloration. The East Texas isolate (designated Tatum) grew significantly more slowly in vitro than the wild type isolate but more quickly than the known hypovirulent isolate. The virulence assay on apples also found the Texas isolate to be less virulent than the wild type but more virulent than the hypovirulent isolate. These studies could not disprove that the Tatum isolate from East Texas is infected with the hypovirulent virus and will provide a basis for further investigations on the status of the Texas C. parasitica population.
Rodriguez, Mary j (2016). Study of Cryphonectria parasitica, Chestnut Blight, in East Texas. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from