Molecular studies conducted in chestnut (Başak Özdemir)

ISHS Secretariat
Molecular studies conducted in chestnut (Başak Özdemir)

Chestnut (genus Castanea, family Fagaceae) has spread to different regions of the northern hemisphere, over many centuries. Since ancient times, 13 species of the genus have had an important place in human nutrition. Major areas where these species are concentrated include: China, Korea, Japan, Turkey, southern Europe and North America. Castanea sativa, which also contains Anatolian chestnut, is a native species of the Mediterranean basin. Although the center of origin has not been concretely confirmed, it has been reported that Castanea sativa was cultivated in Anatolia and spread from there to Europe. According to the latest data, total world chestnut production is 2,051,564 t and the leading country is China (1,683,815 t), followed by Bolivia (77,890 t), Turkey (63,762 t), Korea (56,551 t) and Italy (51,959 t). However, chestnut production is affected in almost all countries by chestnut blight (Cryphonectria (endothia) parasitica) and chestnut ink disease (Phytophthora cambivora), and there are other significant threats to production, such as incorrect forestry practices and adversely changing environmental conditions, which are becoming increasingly important. These factors continue to threaten the worldwide chestnut cultivation areas and natural populations. Accordingly, overcoming the problems of chestnut cultivation, conserving genetic variability of chestnut in in situ and ex situ conditions and investigating the changes are crucial. Some of the conventional methods used to study these issues take a long time. Molecular studies are required, with the aim of identifying the genes associated with fruit quality and identifying those resistant to the important chestnut diseases. Genetic maps are also needed, to identify the gene regions that control other significant features. Molecular markers for these significant plant traits can be used in breeding studies. Many studies have been conducted on chestnut, such as genetic mapping, determining genetic relationships, genotype identification, resistance to chestnut ink disease, molecular identification of effective genes on fruit composition, and primer development. In this study, general profiles of molecular studies on chestnut species around the world and the present situation have been evaluated.

Başak Özdemir won an ISHS Young Minds award for the best poster at the VI International Chestnut Symposium in Turkey in October 2017.

Başak Özdemir, Ankara University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Horticulture, Ankara, Turkey, e-mail:

Young Minds Award Winners