UK scientists have unravelled the genetic code of the ash dieback fungus.

The DNA “blueprint” contains clues to how the pathogen attacks ash trees and possibly, in the long term, how to stop the epidemic, say genetic researchers.

A team at The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) and the John Innes Centre in Norwich sequenced the RNA of an infected ash twig in December.

They have now cracked the DNA sequence of three samples of the fungus in a matter of weeks.

The data is being published on the crowd sourcing website OpenAshDieBack in a £2.4m project funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

A type of ash tree in Denmark, known as Tree 35, – which makes up 2% of the Danish ash tree population – has managed to survive the epidemic.