Tree Frog Forestry News

Biotech Could Modify Trees to Protect Against Pests

By John Fialka
Scientific American
January 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

U.S. forests are among the most vulnerable in the world to predators and disease, and those threats are being compounded by climate change, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The report suggests that two U.S. agencies—the Department of Agriculture and EPA—and the nonprofit U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities Inc. consider using more tools from emerging fields of biotechnology to promote healthy forests. They would include the use of genetically engineered trees to prevent the loss of forested lands from pests. Jason Delborne, an assistant professor at North Carolina State University… stressed that more public funds are needed to expand tree breeding programs and the use of biotechnological tools such as genetic editing to help grow trees that can survive threats. …But there are complicating problems, such as the time it takes to develop genetically modified trees.

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