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American chestnuts CAN produce nuts, and do, before succumbing to blight. (He states that they cannot reproduce? --maybe in the wild is what he meant?) The American Chestnut Foundation has had a traditional breeding program for years working on backcrossing for blight resistance. I strongly disagree with his statement that it can't be done without genetic engineering. I know someone who was president of the MA chapter of the foundation who asserts that the blight resistant gene conferred by engineering would be far weaker than the multi faceted resistance that traditional breeding is aiming to produce. The "need" for genetic engineering to accomplish this is most likely a greenwashing campaign by Monsanto etc to promote the notion that their tech is helpful, needed, and benign.

Growing various crosses between American and Chinese chestnuts is also a very viable option.

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