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Just two trees could save entire ash species

TWO trees with high levels of resistance to the deadly ash dieback disease have been discovered, raising hopes that they could hold the key to saving Europe's woodland from the fungus.

Scientists are trying to breed the two ash trees together in the hope that they will be able to create a new generation of saplings able to survive infection by the Chalara fraxinea fungus.

In Europe, the fungus has destroyed large areas of forest, with Denmark losing between 60 and 90pc of its ash trees to the disease.

But experts have now found two trees – known as tree 35 and tree 18 – in Denmark that show the highest levels of resistance ever seen.

Prof Erik Kjaer, a forest geneticist at the University of Copenhagen, and his colleagues have pollinated the clones of tree 35 with pollen from the clones of tree 18, producing some seeds.

They hope these will show even higher levels of resistance when they grow. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent