For the First Time, Genetically Modified Trees Have Been Planted in a U.S. Forest

By Gabriel Popkin
The New York Times
February 16, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

GEORGIA — In a low-lying tract of southern Georgia’s pine belt, a half-dozen workers planted row upon row of twig-like poplar trees. These weren’t just any trees, though: Some of the seedlings being nestled into the soggy soil had been genetically engineered to grow wood at turbocharged rates while slurping up carbon dioxide from the air. The poplars may be the first genetically modified trees planted in the United States outside of a research trial or a commercial fruit orchard. Just as the introduction of the Flavr Savr tomato in 1994 introduced a new industry of genetically modified food crops, the tree planters on Monday hope to transform forestry. …Maddie Hall, the company’s co-founder said of her dream to deploy genetic engineering on behalf of the climate. But she and her colleagues have also found believers — enough to invest $36 million in the four-year-old company. The company has also attracted critics. [to access the full story a NY Times subscription is required]

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