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Full Version: Helping revive an old chestnut...
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This is sort of a sequel snippet to A Great Multitude of Wings...


By early December of 2014, some fairly firm conclusions had been drawn as to the origin of the newly-discovered passenger pigeon flocks. While the Jason had
yet to confirm anything, he hadn't exactly hidden the fact that he'd been researching the pigeons, and quite a few of the people who knew him knew that
it was the sort of thing he'd do. However...as things turned out, he did confirm it later that same month - even as he revealed that the pigeons
weren't the only project that he'd been working on.

December 29th, 2014

As the president of the American Chestnut Foundation came into the office on Monday morning, his secretary immediately waved him down.
"Sir, check your email. There's something there that you need to see. It's important." The man raised an eyebrow, but went into his office
and booted his computer. He hung up his coat and sat down to read his email. There were a number of messages waiting - they did tend to pile up during the
holidays - and then he came across one with a subject that read 'A Holiday Gift for the Foundation'...and the sender read The Jason.

This got raised eyebrows; by this point, pretty much anyone involved in genetic manipulation had heard of the Fenspace biomod specialist. He clicked on the
email, and started to read...and as he read, his eyes got wider. When he came to the end of the letter, he immediately reached for the phone...leaving the
email displayed on the screen.

Quote: Happy Holidays!

I have been watching the work of the American Chestnut Foundation for many years, and I highly respect all the effort that you have put into renewing the
American chestnut. Your group was one of the reasons for me entering genetics in the first place...and I feel it only right that I help contribute to your
effort now. If you have been following recent events, you have probably heard about the revival of the passenger pigeon. Of importance to the Foundation is
the fact that anywhere there are passenger pigeon flocks, American chestnuts that are not resistant to chestnut blight can be planted safely. If you check
sprouts from some of the older stumps in the regions with pigeons, you should notice small mistletoe-like growths in the upper branches, ones with red
berries. These are symbiotic and will provide protection for the trees as well as food for the pigeons. Please note - these will only grow on non-resistant
trees; your own resistant crosses will not be affected by it. Please continue spreading your own resistant trees - even though they should expand fairly
quickly, it will take time for the flocks to reach over a large portion of the chestnut's former range, and I would love to see the tree restored to its
former glory. I know that your supply of blight-resistant seedlings is still small, so being able to use non-resistant seedlings in the protected areas
should speed up your effort considerably. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to answer them for you.

Merry Yule,

The Jason

Chestnut Ward

This is a symbiotic organism that infects passenger pigeons and American chestnut trees that are non-resistant to the chestnut blight. It only
infects those two species, nothing else. In pigeons, it resides in a protozoan-like form in the bird's intestines, where it provides resistance to several
major avian diseases. The only other effect that it has on the pigeons in this form is to cause the birds to prefer to roost in American chestnut trees over
other trees when they are available, if all other factors in the environment are equal. When the pigeons deposit their droppings on non-resistant American
chestnut trees, the organism is able to infect those trees, where it manifests as a mistletoe-like growth in the tree's upper branches. These growths
usually form small clusters of several tiny branches with waxy green leaves, and bear red berries. The clusters do draw some nourishment from the tree, but in
return they make the tree completely immune to the chestnut blight. While other birds will show some interest in the fruit of the chestnut ward and find them
nutritious, passenger pigeons find them highly desirable. When eaten by passenger pigeons, they infect the bird with the protozoan form of the ward to continue
the cycle.
Whoah! Outstanding. ^_^