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Expert Reaction: Deadly tree disease spreading fast

Ash dieback is a deadly fungus

Expert Reaction: Deadly tree disease spreading fast

A University of York expert comments on the recent news that the deadly tree fungus, ash dieback, is spreading more quickly than previously anticipated.

Dr Andrea Harper, from the University of York’s Department of Biology, said: “The detection of cases of ash dieback in Wales, and indeed across the UK, in the last few years is due to a few fantastic volunteers surveying the trees regularly. The disease is aggressive, spreads quickly through the population, and has no cure, other than individual natural tolerance to the infection.

“Recent research at the University of York has identified genetic markers for disease tolerance that suggest UK ash trees may have a fighting chance against this lethal fungal infection. We have been able to improve the genetic markers for disease tolerance, and use them to predict the tolerance of a sample of trees from across the UK.

“There is still a long way to go, however, with tackling this disease and we still need people to be able to recognise it when they see it and report it to Forest Research.”

source: University of York

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