The latest update on the Smokies Dispatches from the Field page is about the chestnut blight and the "good virus".
In the 1940s the chestnut blight, a fungus accidentally introduced from Asia, killed an estimated four billion American chestnut trees nationwide. Before the blight, roughly one third of all the trees in the Great Smoky Mountains were chestnuts. Today, even single spindly saplings are rare.
Scientists are now investigating an organism, known as a hypovirus, that may help trees overcome the deadly chestnut blight. You can read more about this research project by clicking here.