Genetically modified trees were planted for the first time in US

Genetically modified trees were planted for the first time in US

Genetically modified trees were planted for the first time in the United States. They are expected to grow 50% faster than other native species, in order to help regulate climate change.

Genetically modified trees

The Living Carbon company was the originator of this initiative, which planted aspens, a species of tree, in the lower reaches of the pine belt of southern Georgia.

The company’s co-creator, Maddie Hall, said many people told her her idea “was impossible.” However, Hall and her colleagues managed to find a $36 million sponsorship to carry out their experiment.

The Living Carbon researchers created the trees in a greenhouse for testing, using a bacterium that splices foreign DNA into the genome of other organisms. But for the trees they planted in Georgia, they turned to an older, cruder technique known as the gene gun method, which essentially shoots foreign genes into the trees’ chromosomes.

However, the initiative has also attracted criticism. The Global Justice Ecology Project, an environmental group, called the company’s trees “growing threats” to forests and expressed alarm that the federal government allowed them to evade regulation, opening the door to commercial plantations long before then is typical for engineered plants. 

Reducing amount of atmospheric carbon

Living Carbon has not yet published peer-reviewed articles; it’s only publicly reported results come from a greenhouse trial that lasted only a few months. These data have some experts intrigued, but they do not reach a complete endorsement.

Along the same lines, the US Forest Service, which plants a large number of trees each year, has said little about whether it would use modified trees. 

“To be considered for planting on national forests, which account for nearly one-fifth of US forest land, Living Carbon trees should align with existing management plans that typically prioritize forest health and diversity. about reducing the amount of atmospheric carbon,” said Dana Nelson, a geneticist with the Forest Service.

For now, Living Carbon is focusing on planting poplars on private property, where it would face fewer problems. During the last weeks of spring of 2023, the company hopes to plant more trees on an abandoned coal mine site. Its creators hope to plant more than a million trees next year.


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