Project Director

Craddock, J. Hill

Department Examiner

Boyd, Jennifer; Andrews, Michael; Sompayrac, Joanie


Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


After the widespread infection of the American chestnut tree (Castanea dentata) due to the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica the species was nearly brought to extinction and now merely exists as stump sprouts. Since the fungus infects the bark of the tree but not the root systems new shoots are able to emerge and grow before once again being girdled by the fungus. Cryphonectria parasitica is believed to have been brought to America on Asian species of chestnut which possess resistance to the blight caused by the fungus. It is the plan of the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) to integrate the genes for blight resistance found in Asian chestnuts into C. dentata through a method known as backcross breeding. This process requires several key steps including seed planting, emasculation and pollination, and inoculations. I created a documentary film to raise awareness and inform the public about the hybrid chestnut breeding process. The film documents a year of chestnut breeding, beginning with seed planting in the spring, and continuing until the collection of seeds in the fall. This film not only will serve as a set of instructional clips, but also will serve as a historical documentation of the efforts of TACF to create a blight-resistant, mostly American hybrid chestnut tree using backcross breeding.


First and foremost, I would like to thank my project director, Dr. J. Hill Craddock, for all of his time, patience, knowledge, and enthusiasm. I could not have asked to work with a better professor. Working as a member of the greenhouse crew has always been fun, even in the freezing cold or blistering heat. Thank you to the members of my Departmental Honors Committee, Dr. Jennifer Boyd, Professor Michael Andrews, and Dr. Joanie Sompayrac, for all of your help and feedback. The greenhouse crew has allowed me to work with them and film them over the last two years. Thank you to Amelia Harris, Ana Metaxis, William White, David North, Taylor Perkins, Paul Honen, Adam Lyon, Paul Honen, and Elijah Reyes. Without the assistance of the University Honors Program, this work would never have been accomplished. I am so grateful to Dr. Greg O'dea, Dr. Joanie Sompayrac, Debbie Bell, and Melissa Burchfield for the amazing opportunities I have been given. Last, but certainly not least, I thank my parents Randy and Cathy Stanfill for their endless support and love.


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




American chestnut; Chestnut blight; Conservation biology; Selection (Plant breeding)


Natural Resources and Conservation

Document Type



iii, 21 leaves





Call Number

LB2369.5 .S826 2013