Scientists fear renewed threat to white pine trees

October 31, 2013

Scientists worry that a fungus targeting white pine forests has mutated and could return more than a century after it first hit the United States.

White pine blister rust comes from a combination of white pines and —called ribes (RYE'-beez)—like gooseberries and currants. When infected ribes lose their leaves in the fall, spores of the invade white pines and eventually kill the tree.

When the fungus first hit in 1909, a massive eradication effort including a ban on ribes, helped stem the destruction.

But a Cornell University researcher found a previously immune currant infected with a mutated form of the fungus in 2011 in Connecticut. Scientists now worry the risk may return.

The U.S. Forest Service is leading a research effort into the fungus.

Explore further: New perspectives and guidance for managing white pine blister rust

Related Stories

The zombie-ant fungus is under attack, research reveals

May 2, 2012

A parasite that fights the zombie-ant fungus has yielded some of its secrets to an international research team led by David Hughes of Penn State University. The research reveals, for the first time, how an entire ant colony ...

Frog killing fungus found to infect crayfish too

December 18, 2012

(—A team of US biologists has found that the chytrid fungus, believed to be responsible for amphibian deaths worldwide, also infects and kills crayfish. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National ...

Recommended for you

New gene map reveals cancer's Achilles heel

November 25, 2015

Scientists have mapped out the genes that keep our cells alive, creating a long-awaited foothold for understanding how our genome works and which genes are crucial in disease like cancer.

Insect DNA extracted, sequenced from black widow spider web

November 25, 2015

Scientists extracted DNA from spider webs to identify the web's spider architect and the prey that crossed it, according to this proof-of-concept study published November 25, 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Charles ...

How cells in the developing ear 'practice' hearing

November 25, 2015

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.