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  1. Will B.

    Poplars are a pretty widely dispersed tree in North America. Seems like there is great risk for gene spread/contamination. I wonder why this article doesn’t discuss any of the legitimate concerns of altering lignin content – quicker decomposition of dead trees, leading to quicker CO2 releases, increased susceptibility to insect and disease attack, altered growth, etc.

    Here is a great report on some of the very legitimate concerns regarding genetically engineering trees:

    Further, cellulosic biofuels are still a far cry from a viable solution to climate change and fossil fuels. Most attempts at industrial producing biofuels from wood have failed (Kior, the biggest one yet in the US, just shut down last month). And not just because of lignin production. How about we start with decreasing paper and energy consumption before we pursue panacea technologies and intensive plantations.

    This sounds more like science through press release. Perhaps an attempt to assure the public that there is still a fighting chance for the paper and cellulosic biofuels industries. Prove to us this technology is going to work, that it actually has environmental benefits and that it is safe over the long term.

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