Global Justice Ecology Project’s Anne Petermann provided the weekly Earth Minute segment for the Sojourner Truth Radio Show on Wednesday, discussing how genetically engineered American Chestnuts will be bad for forests if released into the wild. The Earth Minute segment begins at about the 27.48 mark below.
The iconic American chestnut tree is being genetically engineered to resist a deadly introduced blight from Asia. But many American chestnuts still exist throughout eastern forests. Stumps from dead trees re-sprouted and some are producing chestnuts. Active work is being undertaken to use these chestnuts to breed blight resistant wild American chestnuts–not engineered facsimiles.
Because GE chestnut trees, which are monopolizing much of the funding, are dangerous. Studies show that genetically manipulating DNA leads to mutations with unpredictable consequences.
This is important because the plan is to directly release GE chestnuts into wild forests with the specific intent of contaminating as many wild American chestnuts as possible.
But American chestnuts can live 250 years or more. How will these GE trees interact with soils, wildlife, birds, insects, other trees? We have no idea what long-term impacts these GE trees will have on forest ecosystems.
Anyone concerned about forests, or about American chestnuts, should be quite concerned about this.
For the Earth Minute, the Sojourner Truth show, and a world without GE trees, this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project.