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Image of Jeremy Held taking ash tree samples.
Jeremy Held taking ash tree samples to study in the genetics lab.

Genetic Diversity Points to Optimism

The forest pest Emerald ash borer, which kills Ash trees, has been an issue in the United States since it was first detected in 2002, but Jeremy Held thinks there may be hope for the endemic trees.

He researching genetic diversity of an ash population that possibly may hold the key to resisting the borer.

Held, an Ohio University Honors Tutorial College senior majoring in Plant Biology, did field research on a healthy population of ash trees near Toledo.

Then he took his samples back to the lab to compare the genetic diversity of trees in the pre- and post-ash borer populations.

His emerging story clearly points to a large reservoir of genetic diversity in remnant population of trees. This unanticipated finding gives him optimism that the devastation of the emerald ash borer may not have the last word on survival of ash species in North American forests.