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Moms Across America November 23, 2019

Theresa Church and Ruddy Turnstone

While the season of “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” is upon us, the public comment period for the genetically engineered American chestnut (GE AC) is imminent. The request to commercialize the GE AC is being called a “massive and irreversible experiment with our forests” that, if approved, would allow the unprecedented release of a fertile GMO plant into the wild.

This American chestnut has been engineered to tolerate a blight that was introduced to the US around 1900 from Asia. If released into the wild, it can never be recalled. Any request to allow the unregulated release of GE AC trees into forests must be rejected.

The American chestnut was a key source of food for animals, settlers and Indigenous Peoples and also used for medicine, wood and income. Along with rampant over-logging, the introduced chestnut blight decimated the tree’s population. There are millions of living stumps, which still sprout, but only a small handful mature enough to produce chestnuts.

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