GMO news related to the United States

15.03.2005 |

Campaign demands USDA halt field releases of GE trees

Following a national strategy meeting to address the problem of genetic engineering of trees, the Stop GE Trees Campaign reaffirmed its commitment to calling for a ban on the release of GE trees into the environment including the removal of all field releases of genetically engineered forest plants. The Stop GE Trees Campaign is an alliance of grassroots organizations and leading environmental groups in the US and Canada committed to ending the genetic engineering of trees.

09.02.2005 |

Better trees from GM technology?

At an abandoned hat factory in Danbury, Conn, scientists are testing genetically engineered trees to see if they can be used to remove toxic mercury from the ground. In a laboratory in Raleigh, N.C., another group is working to modify trees to make paper production less polluting and more energy efficient. At Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., still more scientists are working on ways to engineer trees so they can store more carbon in their roots as a way of fighting global warming.

12.01.2005 |

GM trees are on their way

The black cottonwood was given the honour of being first tree because it and its relatives are fast-growing and therefore important in forestry. For some people, though, they do not grow fast enough. As America’s Department of Energy, which sponsored and led the cottonwood genome project, puts it, the objective of the research was to provide insights that will lead to »faster growing trees, trees that produce more biomass for conversion to fuels, while also sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.« It might also lead to trees with »phytoremediation traits that can be used to clean up hazardous waste sites.«

02.12.2004 |

The impact of test-tube trees on the woods

After one of his famous walks, the bearded naturalist John Muir wrote in 1896, »Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees.« But if today’s trees could tell their stories, some American branches would be whispering new tales of origin: epics of genetic engineering in 150 groves from Puget Sound to the palmetto flats of South Carolina. Scientists are increasingly tweaking the genetics of trees in the laboratory to enable them to do such things as live at higher altitudes, produce more fruit, convert more easily into pulp for paper products, and grow faster for timber harvesting.

19.11.2004 |

GE tree genes on horizon

Science is poised to insert foreign genes into conifers and other trees harvested for cash. Opposition already is stirring. The prospect raises ecological and cultural issues unlike any encountered before. But the promise is big, too, said Claire Williams, a geneticist and visiting professor at Duke University. Designer trees may grow faster and yield products cheaper. That could preserve existing forests while the world’s appetite for wood and paper keeps growing.

Supporters and skeptics, she said, need to talk. »We have a narrow window for constructive dialogue. In five or 10 years it will be too late,« Williams said.

18.11.2004 |

Row over GM papaya to surface at IUCN Third World Conservation Congress

A group of Big Island farmers opposed to genetically engineered plants dumped more than 20 papaya fruit into a trash bin on the University of Hawai’i-Hilo campus yesterday in a symbolic protest of what they say is »contamination« of their trees by plants created by UH scientists. The group, which leaders say includes as many as 100 small farmers, including conventional, backyard and organic farmers on three islands, is calling on UH to create a plan to prevent cross-pollination of their papaya trees as well as offering liability protection for growers if their markets are lost.

18.11.2004 |

How UH helped save Hawai’i’s papayas

For generations, the papaya ringspot virus, or PRSV, threatened the livelihood of Hawai’i’s papaya farmers. It was discovered on O’ahu in the 1940s and devastated papaya production. By the mid-1980s, more than 90 percent of the state’s papayas were grown in the Big Island’s Puna district. The removal of infected trees in neighboring areas kept Puna virus-free for decades, but time was not on the growers« side. Knowing that Puna’s luck wouldn’t last forever, researchers from UH- Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Cornell University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and private industry began work to develop a papaya genetically engineered to resist the virus.

18.11.2004 |

Beware inroads of GMO papaya

Dean Hashimoto states that the Rainbow papaya underwent years of rigorous testing. What was the team from UH and Cornell testing for? Did they perform long-term feeding studies? Did they search the new genome for new proteins that could have been created, or suppressed amino acid expressions, or silenced genes? Did they study how the papaya could affect an ecosystem, soil, insects, birds, bees or animals? Did they check to see if the various viruses could recombine with other plant viruses? Is the public able to see this data of no harm?

18.11.2004 |

Long-term testing is critical in GMO »foods«

It’s outrageous that organic growers have been told to bag each flower on every tree to prevent GMO papaya contamination. UH must supply GMO testing for papaya seeds and trees. Growers deserve to know what they are eating and selling. UH released this invasive species into our environment. UH must take responsibility to clean it up.

18.11.2004 |

Rainbow papaya saved industry

Rainbow papaya is the reason we’re still in business. Without it, we wouldn’t have trees to grow or fruit to sell. Instead of 350 to 400 papaya farmers in the state, there might be 50. When ringspot virus reached Puna in 1992, 95 percent of the state’s fresh papayas grew there. Whole fields were infected, and growers had to choose between cutting all their trees or letting them stand and hoping for some harvestable fruit. With sick trees left standing, the virus spread quickly.