Genetically modified trees planted in American forests for the first time

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(ORDO NEWS) — An American startup is going to plant genetically modified trees in the states of Georgia and Pennsylvania. These plants are able to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere more efficiently.

Startup hopes its seedlings will help deal with climate change

American biotech company Living Carbon and Oregon State University have published a preprint of a study showing that genetically engineered trees can capture 27% more carbon dioxide than conventional trees.

They also grow much faster.

The study was conducted in the laboratory, but now these plants have appeared in the forest.

According to The New York Times, in early February, several seedlings of genetically modified poplar were planted in a forest in southern Georgia.

This is the first time genetically modified trees have been planted in a US forest outside of a research garden.

By mid-2024, Living Carbon plans to plant 4 to 5 million trees. According to the company, this will help to cope with the climate crisis.

How can modified trees help fight climate change?

Genetically modified trees planted in American forests for the first time 2
On the left – genetically modified poplar, on the right – ordinary

The main “trick” of genetically modified trees is the increased efficiency of the natural ability of plants to photosynthesis.

When plants photosynthesize, they convert carbon into sugars and nutrients that are eventually consumed by all living organisms.

This process is not without problems, periodically forming “wrong” chains of sugars with oxygen molecules. Additional energy is spent on their splitting.

Genetically modified trees are designed to avoid wasting energy. These plants do not break down the by-product – instead, the energy is channeled into growth.

It is not yet known if Living Carbon will have any impact on climate change. Now in the US there are not many places where it is allowed to plant genetically modified trees.


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