Do GMO American chestnut trees pose a threat to the environment? Two new studies say no

ge novel
Genetic engineering critics say the American chestnut developed by scientists at SUNY College of Environmental Science and ForestrySUNY ESF researchers Charles Maynard, at left, and William Powelll, could damage the environment.

Two new studies on the environmental impact of transgenic American chestnut trees provide evidence that the trees have no harmful effects on germinating seeds, beneficial fungi, or larval frogs that are dependable indicators of environmental quality.

The findings were published by researchers at the New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), where scientists have been working for 29 years to restore the valuable species after it was nearly wiped out by a pathogenic blight in the 20th century. Now that they have developed a process for growing blight-tolerant trees, ESF scientists have turned their attention to assessing how these trees could affect the environment.

“Since we were making an extremely small change to the tree as compared to other, more traditional breeding methods, we didn’t expect to see any differences between the wild, blight-susceptible trees and the blight-tolerant American chestnut trees other than now being able to coexist with the invasive pathogen. These and other experiments support these conclusions,” said Professor William Powell, a co-author on both studies and director of ESF’s American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project.

Related article:  Talking Biotech: Using plants as 'biofactories' for vaccines, biofuels and more

The ESF technique neutralizes the pathogen’s main weapon by using a common detoxifying enzyme found in many plants. When this single gene is added to the chestnut tree’s approximately 38,000-gene genome, the tree can withstand an attack by the blight.

Read full, original article: Studies: Transgenic American Chestnut Trees Show No Ill Effects on Seeds, Fungi or Larval Frogs

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend