Genetically Engineered Trees

When poet Joyce Kilmer said “.. only God can make a tree” it followed that religious reasons are cited by some for questioning scientific processes that would change forestry with genetically engineered trees.

PopulusXCanadensis

Photo Credit: pfaf.org

Business Vancouver reports that a researcher at UBC has genetically modified poplar trees to make the wood fibre easier to break down into pulp. It means processing requires fewer chemicals and less power. The new technology is described here as “a huge leap in terms of environmental benefits and commercial viability for the industry.”

Could we soon see a genetically modified forest in Quesnel? Not before society is ready to accept trees and plants designed for these applications, we’re told. It’s reported that Canadians are reluctant to accept the virtues of genetically modified organisms (GMO). UBC wood science professor David Cohen adds, “There are people who feel really strongly it is against their religion to use GMO and there’s no amount of science, there’s no amount of logic that’s going to change their minds. In terms of 10 years from now, having genetically modified forests in Canada, I would bet against that pretty heavily.”

Related: Genetically engineered trees hailed as environmental breakthrough, Vancouver Sun

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