If you’re at all concerned about GMOs, you’re going to flip shit about this. The US Government is allowing the first genetically modified tree to be used with no government or public oversight and no environmental risk assessment at all. Their decision completely disregarded public opposition to the idea.
The USDA has allowed ArborGen to pursue unregulated commercial cultivation of genetically modified pine trees for altered wood composition, and they could be planted anywhere without your knowledge whatsoever.
“If these GE loblolly pines are released on a large scale in the US, there will be no way to stop them from cross contaminating native loblolly pines,” says Dr. Rachel Smolker, a Biologist with the organization Biofuelwatch. “This is deliberate, irreversible and completely irresponsible contamination of the environment with unknown and possibly devastating consequences. Forest ecosystems are barely understood, and the introduction of trees with genes for modified wood characteristics could have all manner of negative impacts on soils, fungi, insects, wildlife, songbirds, and public health. And all this for short term commercial profit.”
“Forests are complex ecosystems, and GE trees could be very disruptive.” warns Andrew Kimbrell, the executive director of the Center for Food Safety. “Instead of protecting our precious natural forests, USDA is allowing ArborGen to make a complete end-run around the regulatory system with this GE pine.”
What do you think? Are genetically engineered trees a bad plan? Or is there little reason to fret?
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