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Groundbreaking Poplar Study Shows Trees Can Be Genetically Engineered Not to Spread

The largest field-based study of genetically modified forest trees ever conducted has demonstrated that the spread of trees developed through genetic engineering can be contained by inherent traits that prevent new seedlings from establishing.

The “containment traits” that Oregon State University (OSU) researchers engineered in the study are important because of societal concerns over gene flow – the spread of genetically engineered or exotic and invasive trees or their reproductive cells beyond the boundaries of plantations.

“There’s still more to know and more research to be done, but this looks really good,” said corresponding author Steve Strauss, distinguished professor of forest biotechnology at OSU. “It’s very exciting.” 

NIFA supports this research through the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grant Program and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. Learn more at the OSU Newsroom.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

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