Genetically engineered American chestnut is Trojan horse meant to open the doors to commercial GE trees designed for industrial plantations
This story is worth reading in full at the URL given, especially for the information about the scientifically invalid safety studies submitted by the developers in support of regulatory approval. For example, for some studies intended to test effects on bees, they used pollen from non-GM trees because they didn't have enough from the GM trees!
USDA may allow genetically modified trees to be released into the wild
Truthout, April 18, 2021
* This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.
On August 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a petition by researchers at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) seeking federal approval to release their genetically engineered (GE) Darling 58 (D58) American chestnut tree into U.S. forests. Researchers claim the transgenic D58 tree will resist the fungal blight that, coupled with rampant overlogging, decimated the American chestnut population in the early 20th century. In fact, the GE American chestnut is a Trojan horse meant to open the doors to commercial GE trees designed for industrial plantations.
The D58 would be the first GE forest tree approved in the U.S. and the first GMO intended to spread in the wild. (GE canola plants were discovered in the wild in 2010 but that was unplanned.) “This is a project to rapidly domesticate a wild species through genetic engineering and accelerated breeding, and then to put it back into ecosystems to form self-perpetuating populations — an intentional evolutionary intervention that has never been attempted before with any species,” explain scientists at the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA), which are nonprofits based in Washington, D.C.
“The southern U.S. is global ground zero for the forest products industry and we see genetically engineered chestnut trees as this industry’s sneaky way of opening the floodgates for ‘frankentrees’ that will harm forests, biodiversity and local communities across the region,” explains Scot Quaranda of Dogwood Alliance, a nonprofit based in North Carolina that works to protect southern U.S. forests. “Our natural forests that support wildlife and the economic sovereignty of rural communities will rapidly be replaced with tree plantations for wood pellets, paper and more, leaving environmental and climate injustice in their wake.”