Genetically Engineered Trees


Since 1999 GENET collects and distributes information on various topics in the field of genetic engineering in agriculture, food production and health. With this "Special Topic: GE Trees" GENET aims at providing an overview about the worldwide debate on genetically engineered trees, based on our archives.


Databank Query 1: "trees" as key word in the GENET-news text


You will find a selection of publications in the section "Research & Reports". To get more information about the different stakeholders in the debate, please follow the internet links to selected actors in the civil society and industry sectors. Finally, the page "GE Trees and the CBD" introduces you into the international debate about a moratorium on GE trees that is ongoing at the Convention for Biological Biodiversity.

GENET-news articles

2010-07-27 |

Protein from GE poplar trees can be used to greatly improve computer memory elements

Scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have succeeded in showing how it is possible to greatly expand the memory capacity of future computers through the use of memory units based on silica nanoparticles combined with protein molecules obtained from the poplar tree. [...] The Hebrew University project involves the genetic engineering of poplar protein to enable its hybridization with a silicon nanoparticle.

2010-07-22 |

Scion (New Zealand) to seek approval for new GE trees

State science company Scion Research is putting together an application for genetic engineering of forestry trees which it hopes will lead to traits such as faster-growing trees. The project - to involve as many as 4000 trees -- is expected to go to new organisms regulator the Environmental Risk Management Authority (Erma) in the next few months.

2010-06-08 |

U.S. paper industry plants 250,000 GE eucalyptus trees in field trials

The commercial paper industry’s plans to plant forests of genetically altered eucalyptus trees in seven Southern states have generated more cries from critics worried that such a large introduction of a bioengineered nonnative plant could throw natural ecosystems out of whack. [...] Australian eucalyptus trees grow faster than native hardwoods and produce high-quality pulp perfect for paper production, but thus far, they have been able to thrive only in very warm climates.

2010-05-14 |

U.S. clears field testing of GE eucalyptus on 300 acres at 28 sites

Federal regulators gave clearance Wednesday for a large and controversial field test of genetically engineered trees planned for seven states stretching from Florida to Texas. The test is meant to see if the trees, eucalyptuses with a foreign gene meant to help them withstand cold weather, can become a new source of wood for pulp and paper, and for biofuels, in the Southern timber belt.

2010-04-26 |

Biotechnology makes agricultural production more earth-friendly

Despite the current and prepdicted agricultural challenges posed by climate change and increased demands on farmland and natural resources, farmers around the world are able to practice Earth-friendly farming thanks to agricultural biotechnology. In celebration of Earth Day 2010, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is increasing awareness of the many environmental benefits provided by biotech crops, trees and genetically engineered animals.

2010-04-09 |

Long-lived pine pollen makes it difficult to contain transgenic trees

forest biologist Claire Williams [...] wanted to find out if pollen from the loblolly pine — the most commonly planted tree in the southern United States — can still germinate after drifting long distances. The answer could have profound implications if and when the USDA approves transgenic trees. ”Long-distance dispersal of transgenic pine pollen is a potential problem only if that pollen is viable,” said Williams

2010-02-01 |

USDA weighs plan to bring GM eucalyptus to Southeast Pinelands

While the practice of splicing foreign DNA into food crops has become common in corn and soy, few companies or researchers have dared to apply genetic engineering to plants that provide an essential strut of the U.S. economy, trees. But that will soon change. Two industry giants, International Paper Co. and MeadWestvaco Corp., are planning to transform plantation forests of the southeastern United States by replacing native pine with genetically engineered eucalyptus, a rapidly growing Australian tree that in its conventional strains now dominates the tropical timber industry.

2010-01-08 |

Giving trees - International Paper turns to GE eucalyptus to grow a better box

Intermnational Paper owns a one-third interest in Summerville, S.C.-based ArborGen, which has requested U.S. Department of Agriculture permission to sell the first genetically engineered forest trees outside of China. The fast-growing Australian eucalyptus, genetically engineered to survive winters in the southern U.S., grows sustainably in Brazil. Genetic engineering makes the altered version more freeze-tolerant.

2009-12-04 |

’GM food is almost anti-Hindu’

In 2001, when Genetically Modified corn turned up in food at Taco Bell, the cheerful gardener turned into a protester. The idea of GM food, strawberries being injected with a fish gene and the like seemed like an act against Nature to him. ”GM, in my opinion, is almost anti-Hindu. The religion worships its trees and Nature,” feels Dervaes, who now has his own brand called Freedom seeds.

2009-08-28 |

International Paper treads Monsanto’s path to ’Frankenforests’

International Paper Co., the world’s largest pulp and paper maker, plans to remake commercial forests in the same way Monsanto Co. revolutionized farms with genetically modified crops.
International Paper’s ArborGen joint venture with MeadWestvaco Corp. and New Zealand’s Rubicon Ltd. is seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to sell the first genetically engineered forest trees outside China. The Australian eucalyptus trees are designed to survive freezes in the U.S. South.

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GE Trees: NGOs and Social Movements

 people's Forest Forum

The Global Ban on GM Trees Campaign was released by three Finnish non-governemental organisations in January 2004. The open petition protested decicion made in UN Climate change meeting in Milano to include transgenic trees in their climate toolbox. This desicion violated the biodiversity and biosafety agreements and prozesses.

 Stop GE Trees Campaign

The Stop GE Trees Campaign is a national and international alliance of organizations that have united toward the goal of prohibiting the ecologically and socially devastating release of genetically engineered trees into the environment. Global Justice Ecology Project coordinates, administrates and fundraises for the campaign. World Rainforest Movement, based in Uruguay, is the Southern Hub for the Campaign and has materials in Spanish and Portuguese.

 Genetically Modified Trees

Information by the World Rainforest Movement

  • WRM publications on GM Trees
  • Articles published in WRM bulletin
  • WRM special bulletin on GM Trees
  • Video "The Silent Forest"
  • Other relevant information
  • Links

GE Trees: Biotechnology Industry and Science

 Institute for Forest Biotechnology

The Institute promotes the responsible use of biotechnology in forest trees.  We advance the societal, environmental, and economic benefits biotechnology can bring to forests around the world.  The Institute of Forest Biotechnology (IFB) is the only non-profit organization to address the sustainability of forest biotechnology on a global scale.


Trees are the world’s most plentiful and versatile source of renewable materials and an important resource for bioenergy. ArborGen is dedicated to improving the sustainability and productivity of purpose grown working forests, providing more wood on less land while preserving native habitats in all their diversity and complexity for future generations.

 Tree Biosafety and Genomics Research Cooperative

The goal of the Tree Biosafety and Genomics Research Cooperative (TBGRC) is to conduct research, technology transfer, and education to facilitate beneficial uses of genetically engineered trees in plantations. The TBGRC seeks to test and develop select innovations, based on progress in molecular biology and agricultural biotechnology, that will ultimately have commercial value to wood-growing and horticultural industries. Research is presently focused on poplars as scientific models for genetic engineering and functional genomic studies.