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

(Phys.org)—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

In changing oceans, cephalopods are booming

May 23, 2016

Humans have changed the world's oceans in ways that have been devastating to many marine species. But, according to new evidence, it appears that the change has so far been good for cephalopods, the group including octopuses, ...

A 100-million-year partnership on the brink of extinction

May 24, 2016

A relationship that has lasted for 100 million years is at serious risk of ending, due to the effects of environmental and climate change. A species of spiny crayfish native to Australia and the tiny flatworms that depend ...

Rare evolutionary event detected in the lab

May 23, 2016

It took nearly a half trillion tries before researchers at The University of Texas at Austin witnessed a rare event and perhaps solved an evolutionary puzzle about how introns, non-coding sequences of DNA located within genes, ...

Is aging inevitable? Not necessarily for sea urchins

May 25, 2016

Sea urchins are remarkable organisms. They can quickly regrow damaged spines and feet. Some species also live to extraordinary old ages and—even more remarkably—do so with no signs of poor health, such as a decline in ...

Why fruit fly sperm are giant

May 25, 2016

In the animal kingdom, sperm usually are considerably smaller than eggs, which means that males can produce far more of them. Large numbers of tiny sperm can increase the probability of successful fertilization, especially ...

0 comments

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.