Genetically Modified Forests: From Stone Age to Modern Biotechnology
Rowland Burdon (with William Libby)
The genetic modification of the world's forests is addressed in the broadest sense, from the very earliest of human influences beginning during humankind's hunter-gatherer phase, through unwitting genetic selection processes during documented human history, quite recently through organised and increasingly sophisticated tree breeding programmes, and nowadays the prospect of genetic engineering. The genetic changes achieved are reviewed, as are the changes potentially achievable through modern biotechnology which include major environmental benefits as well as commercial ones. The commercial, social and regulatory contexts of the development of genetic engineering technology are reviewed, with special attention to human attitudes towards forests.