The USDA is currently taking public comments on whether or not the company ArborGen should be allowed to conduct 29 field trials of genetically engineered "cold tolerant" eucalyptus trees in the U.S. This massive experiment, which is on the verge of being green-lighted, will literally be using nature as the laboratory to test more than 260,000 frankentrees. Scientists across the U.S. are voicing concerns over this proposal including:
-The USDA failed to do an Environmental Impact Statement to assess potential negative issues related to the proposed field trials.
-The spread of the these plants into the wild through seeds and plant matter is highly likely, and the impacts on native ecosystems from this invader are unknown
.-One of the experimental GE tree varieties is a known host for cryptococcus gatti, a fatal fungal pathogen whose spores cause meningitis in people and animals.
Comments are being accepted by the USDA until July 6, 2009.