World Rainforest Movement

Germany – WRM information sheet on GE tree research

 WRM information sheets on GE tree research

First posted: 1 August 2008
Updated: 21 August 2008
Updated: 23 January 2009
Last Update: 2014

Tree species being manipulated:

  • aspens and poplar (Populus tremula, Populus tremula x Populus tremuloides, Populus tremula x alba) (1)

Aim of genetic manipulation

  • genetic stability of new traits (rolC gene from Agrobacterium rhizogenes, bar gene from Streptomyces hygroscopicus, nptII marker gene) (1)
  • soil decontamination (heavy metals)

Those carrying out the research:

  • The Institute of Forest Genetics at the Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute, Federal Research Institute of Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries (formerly the Federal Research Centre for Forestry and Forest Products). (1)
  • University of Freiburg (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität) (2) together with the George August Universitat Gottingen, and British, Belgian, Italian and French research institutions, this university is part of a Consortium of public and private research institutions called EnergyPoplar, focusing in bioenergy. (8)
  • University of Tübingen (3) (poplar)

Those who provide support to research:

  • Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Regulatory framework for research and field trials:

  • German Genetic Modification Act, EU regulations on genetic engineering

Field trials:

  • In 1996 the Federal Research Centre for Forestry and Forest Products (BFH) in Grosshansdorf started the first deliberate release trial of genetically modified aspens. The BFH obtained approval for a further trial in 2000. (4)
  • Two deliberate releases with poplars were granted to the University of Freiburg (2002, 2003) (4). They took place in Helbra (Saxony-Anhalt, 2002 – 2004) (5), Helbra and Großörner (Sayony-Anhalt, 2003 – 2005). (6)

Organizations opposing GE trees:

  • AG Wald der Foum Umwelt und Entwicklung
  • Bergwaldprojekt e.V.
  • BUKO Agro Coordination
  • Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz in Deutschland
  • Earthlink, Munich
  • Ecodevelop – Publikation und Dienstleistung für ökosoziale Entwicklung
  • ECOTERRA Europe
  • Forum Ökologie & Papier
  • Genanet – Focal Point Gender, Environment, Sustainability
  • Gene-ethical Network
  • Gesellschaft für Ökolgische Forschung
  • OroVerde – Tropical Forest Foundation
  • Pro Regenwald
  • Regenwald-Institut e.V.
  • Rettet den Regenwald
  • Robin Wood
  • Umweltinstitut Muenchen (Munich) (7)

Sources:

  1. http://www.ti.bund.de/
  2. http://gmoinfo.jrc.it/gmp_report.aspx?CurNot=B/DE/02/145
  3. http://www.gmo-safety.eu/en/safety_science/29.docu.html
  4. http://www.gmo-safety.eu/en/wood/poplar/54.docu.html
  5. http://www.bvl-berlin.de/cgi/lasso/fsl/display.lasso?azrki=6786-01-0145
  6. http://www.bvl-berlin.de/cgi/lasso/fsl/display.lasso?azrki=6786-01-0133
  7. http://umweltinstitut.org/gentechnik/freisetzungsversuche/freisetzung-
    transgener-baeume-489.html
  8. http://www.energypoplar.eu/institutions.php