There is no question that the genetically modified foods infiltrating our food supply are causing negative health effects and compromising the quality of the ecosystem. Numerous studies reveal how genetically modified crops are leading to issues like pesticide-resistant superweeds, superbugs, and even cancerous tumors when consumption is involved. But the genetic modification we’re working so hard to prevent goes beyond the food supply; even trees are being genetically engineered, and some experts say that these genetically modified trees are even more environmentally-damaging than GM foods.
Genetically modified foods are widely recognized to exist in order to fight global starvation at various angles, though even that reason is questionable to say the least. What many reporters don’t really touch upon is how trees are actually being genetically engineered to support the paper industry (at least that’s one main reason we’re told). Not only is this an issue given the experimental, dangerous nature of GMOs, but it’s extremely easy for genetically modified ‘test’ areas to contaminate the globe. And we’re already seeing this.
Like many GMO crops, trees are being genetically engineered to withstand pesticides, kill insects, and grow larger faster. For the paper industry, trees are being created with lower lignin levels, which must be removed from trees before they can be used to create paper. The problem, or one of the many problems, is that this substance allows trees to survive in harsh weather and even protects it from diseases.
GM Contamination Throughout Nature
Another issue with genetically engineering trees is the risk of widespread contamination. Just recently, the USDA issued a concerning alert regarding the illegal and unexpected spread of Monsanto’s genetically modified glyphosate-resistant wheat. Even the USDA, which is known to support GMOs and Monsanto, admits that the spread of the GM wheat may cause some issues. The same could happen with the genetic manipulation of trees, however the issue could be much worse.
Trees differ from crops like soy or corn because they live for decades in forests. If GE trees escape the GE testing areas, it would be nearly impossible to reverse the future damage it could cause. Regulations of GE trees should be extremely strict so that contamination doesn’t occur at the very least. A full ban would be the logical route.
In one documentary, Dr. Suzuki explains how the issues concerning genetic engineering revolves around using horizontal gene transfers, as opposed to vertical gene transfers, to create the genetic abominations. Vertical gene transfer deals with moving genes from the parent generation to offspring via sexual or asexual reproduction. Horizontal gene tranfers deals with injecting a gene from one species into a entirely different species – something that leads to unpredictable outcomes.
Watch this short documentary to learn how GE trees could be the next wide-scale issue we are to face.