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Brazil approves transgenic eucalyptus

FuturaGene's genetically modified (GM) eucalyptus was approved for commercial release by the Brazilian National Technical Commission on Biosafety in April. It is the first GM eucalyptus approved worldwide. FuturaGene, which merged with Rehovot, Israel's CBD in 2006, and is now wholly owned by São Paulo, Brazil–based Suzano Pulp and Paper, the second largest producer of eucalyptus pulp globally. FuturaGene says the GM tree produces 20% more wood compared with its conventional variety Eucalyptus spp. and is ready for harvest in five and a half years instead of seven. FuturaGene inserted into eucalyptus a gene encoding an Arabidopsis thaliana protein that facilitates cell-wall expansion and accelerates growth. A month earlier, in March, FuturaGene's facilities in Brazil were vandalized by approximately 1,000 activists representing Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement. They destroyed GM eucalyptus seedlings in an action coinciding with a meeting held by the National Technical Commission on Biosafety in Brasilia.

FuturaGene's eucalyptus. Credit: FuturaGene

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Brazil approves transgenic eucalyptus. Nat Biotechnol 33, 577 (2015).

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