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The GE American Chestnut – Restoration of a Beloved Species or Trojan Horse for Tree Biotechnology?

By: 
Rachel Smolker and Anne Petermann

The GE American chestnut is meant to launch us down the slippery slope of tree biotechnology. In the wings, and waiting to follow in that newly forged path are a host of other GE forest tree species, engineered for commercial industrial purposes. Natural forests meanwhile are rapidly declining, even as climate science dictates that protecting and restoring forests is a crucial part of regaining carbon balance. Yet logging, even of the precious remaining old growth forests, continues largely unabated, often subsidized with public funding.