Genetic engineering has always been an unnoticed technology. Sure, you’ve always heard about how genetic engineering in agriculture was going to revolutionize the way that farmers planted and harvested their crops. GE crops were also hailed to be the next generation of plants – more nutritious, higher yielding and more pest resistant. But what might come as a surprise to you is that these modified crops were planted and hit the grocery store even before you knew about it.
Genetically modified soya beans were planted in farms and sold in the market even before American consumers knew they were buying GMO soybeans. rBGH milk, which comes from cows injected with the man-made hormone, are also being sold in the market. What’s worse is that these GMO products are not labeled accordingly – how then will the uninformed consumer protect himself?
Now it’s the genetically engineered trees that are posing a threat to us and our environment – specifically, the forests.
What Are Genetically Engineered Trees Going To Do To The Natural Balance Of Things?
Presently, the US government has only deregulated the fruit tree papaya. That doesn’t mean, however that you won’t be seeing any transgenic trees being planted in the future. That threat is still very real, because right now there are a number of transgenic trees that are being studied and readied for deregulation.
When that happens, these mutant trees will be planted by paper and lumber companies. Such trees were developed to be more uniform-looking, grow much faster, and contain less lignin. They are also genetically engineered to be more resistant to diseases and to pesticides and such.
The big problem when these genetically modified trees are planted in plantations is that they can easily spread their pollen into the air – just like any other plant – and possibly cross-pollinate with the non-GMO plants. What happens then is that the plants that come from these non-GMO plants may grow faster than the other trees and be more resistant to pests. There is a real threat that these transgenic trees will crowd out the non-GM trees, thereby endangering our forests in the long run.
Why We Should Treat GMO Plants Like Weeds
A weed is a plant that grows where people don’t want it to grow. With this definition in mind, the public should start thinking of GMO plants as weeds.
Anywhere in the world, genetically engineered plants, will always be controversial. That doesn’t come as a surprise since there are many negative effect that these mutant plants have on nature.
GMO plants have as much ability to spread their pollen in the air as any other plant. And just like in nature, there will be no way that anybody can prevent the cross-pollination of mutant plants and the organic ones.
A big part of the solution lies on each and every consumer. If you start thinking of GE plants as weeds, then you’ll stop thinking of them as modern science’s lifesavers. When you do that, you’ll stop buying them. When people stop buying them, perhaps the US government will stop deregulating the planting of these genetically modified plants.