The potential uses of virus-infected symbionts to improve drought and heat stress in trees for improvement, climate change resilience, and restoration
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With the rapid changes occurring to the climate of the boreal forest, many populations of trees are facing increased stresses and seeing lower productivity and survival. Conventional tree improvement programs take decades to come to fruition and may not provide extensive enough benefits to tackle changing conditions. Curvularia Thermal Tolerance Virus (CThTV) has the capacity to dramatically improve the heat stress resilience of its host by activating the basic stress response genes of a mutual endophytic fungus within the plant host. This novel system has the potential to be introduced into economically important trees using endophytic fungi and/or mycorrhizal species as vectors. If successful, this virus would confer significant relief from a large variety of environmental stressors, and be persistent across generations of plants on-site, without being a risk to the genetic diversity of the host population.
- Undergraduate theses