Thursday, January 1, 2015

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

     Well maybe.  The American Chestnut Project is a genetically modified organism (GMO) and a few Luddites were prefer the project not proceed, because of a knee-jerk negative reaction to anything GMO, even though bioscience has found the procedure perfectly safe.
     For 25 years, William Powell and Charles Maynard at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York have been using genetic engineering methods to try to revive the American chestnut tree. The tree was once populous from Maine to Georgia, consisting of as much as 25 percent of the forest and providing food and lumber. In early 1900s, an Asian fungus began and continues to kill billions of trees.
     In early December, the activist group called “The Campaign To Stop GE Trees” called on consumers to shut the project down, saying the transgenic trees are “unnecessary, undesirable,” and “unpredictable”.
Horizontal gene transfer between unrelated species is not unnatural. It does happen in nature and is an important force in genetic diversity and evolution. But instead of happening randomly, genetic engineering allows some thought to be put in behind this natural process.

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