Genetically Modified Trees
The main focus of genetic engineering research has been on forcing some naturally-occurring genes to be overactive, silencing others, or inserting genes from one species into another. The objectives are many, for example, pulp producers look forward to create eucalyptus and pine varieties with a lower lignin content, while biomass tree producers for energy purposes look for a higher lignin content. Also, increasing trees’ pest or drought resistance is a purpose for GE techniques. One of the main risks of these techniques is biological contamination through pollination, allowing the spread over longdistances via air. One of the biggest problems is the unreliable science of the process of manipulating genes itself: our current understanding of what genes do and how life is formed, as well as of how genes behave when transplanted to other species, is very limited.