GE Trees for Biofuels: Risk Assessment Lacking

NOTE: In the two articles below, we find the same old propaganda we’ve heard about GM trees (also called GE trees or GMO trees) since the late 1990s.  In the first article about GM poplars, there is once again there is no attention paid to the ecological impacts of the inevitable and irreversible genetic contamination of native poplar trees with the engineered traits from these “successful” GE poplars.  They are low-lignin, meaning they have been genetically engineered to supress natural lignin production.  So?  Well, no problem, except that lignin is what protects trees from disease, insect infestation, animal browsing, wind, etc.  Will these trees have so-called “stacked” genetic traits that also make them resistant to disease or insects?  If so, these trees could have a host of unpredictable effects, even on human health.  The health impact of inhaling pollen from trees genetically engineered to produce insecticide in every one of their cells has not been adequately studied.  Preliminary findings, however, reveal potentially serious problems.

Article two trumpets about the promise of GE eucalyptus for biofuels.  Again, no attention paid to the ecological impacts of releasing an invasive, flammable and water-sucking tree into the environment by the millions.

These “scientists” are very good at playing up the successes, but so very bad at assessing the risks–both ecological and social.

–Anne Petermann for the GJEP Team

From GENET News

TITLE:   INITIAL FIELD TEST RESULTS GM POPLARS: BIOETHANOL YIELD ALMOST DOUBLED

SOURCE:  Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie, Belgium (VIB) http://www.vib.be/en/news/Pages/Initial-field-test-results-GM-poplars-bioethanol-yield-almost-doubled.aspx

DATE:    19.05.2011

SUMMARY: “The yield of bio-ethanol from the wood of GM poplar trees from a VIB field trial is up to 81% higher than non-modified poplars VIB-UGent researcher Wout Boerjan presented these results at the international conference “Bioenergy Trees” in Nancy, France. “This is just the beginning. The results of the field test confirm that we are on the right track. Further research will allow us to select poplar varieties that are even better suited for bio-ethanol production,‰ said Wout Boerjan from VIB and Ghent University.”

INITIAL FIELD TEST RESULTS GM POPLARS: BIOETHANOL YIELD ALMOST DOUBLED

Nancy, France, May 19, 2011 – The yield of bio-ethanol from the wood of GM poplar trees from a VIB field trial is up to 81% higher than non-modified poplars VIB-UGent researcher Wout Boerjan presented these results at the international conference “Bioenergy Trees” in Nancy, France.

“This is just the beginning. The results of the field test confirm that we are on the right track. Further research will allow us to select poplar varieties that are even better suited for bio-ethanol production,” said Wout Boerjan from VIB and Ghent University.

To read the entire post, go to: http://globaljusticeecology.org/stopgetrees.php?tabs=2&ID=558

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees

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