Genetically modifying poplar trees to save air quality works

Poplar trees are fast-growing trees that are a source of biofuel and other products including paper, pallets, plywood and furniture frames. (Photo: David J.P. Moore)
Article Highlights
  • While providing benefits to the environment, some trees also emit gases to the atmosphere that worsen air pollution and alter climate
  • Field trials in Oregon and Arizona show that poplar trees, which emit trace amounts of the gas isoprene, can be genetically modified not to harm air quality while leaving their growth potential unchanged
  • The net effect of emitted isoprene is to worsen respiratory health and, most likely, warm the atmosphere
  • The researchers found that trees whose isoprene production was genetically suppressed did not suffer ill effects in terms of photosynthesis or “biomass production.”
  • "The trees exhibited a clever response that allowed them to work around the loss of isoprene and arrive at the same outcome, effectively tolerating high temperature and drought stress."
  • The researchers used a genetic engineering tool known as RNA interference. “RNA interference is like a vaccination – it triggers a natural and highly specific mechanism whereby specific targets are suppressed, be they the RNA of viruses or endogenous genes,” Strauss said
  • “We’re striving toward greater environmental sustainability while developing plantation‐scale biomass sources that can serve as fossil fuel alternatives."

The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News

Go deeper with Bing News on:
Genetically modified poplar trees
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Genetically modified poplar trees

[google_news title=”” keyword=”genetically modified poplar trees” num_posts=”5″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]

Go deeper with Bing News on:
RNA interference
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
RNA interference

[google_news title=”” keyword=”RNA interference” num_posts=”5″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]

What's Your Reaction?
Don't Like it!
I Like it!
Scroll To Top