Conclusions

From this review it is clear that pathogen resistance can be enhanced in transgenic trees using genetic engineering techniques (Table 11.1, Chaps. 10 and 12). Beyond the technical abilities comes the next question, will these trees become widely used? This will largely depend on public acceptance. We need to learn from past mistakes and current successes in GM food research. In order to obtain broad public support, the resistance-enhanced transgenic trees must demonstrate public utility and environmental safety. According to Don S. Doering, today's stakeholder demands more than regulatory compliance and favors products that do "more good" rather than just "less harm" (Doering 2001). Therefore, researchers must not only be technically competent, but must also make connections with the public. The research must be as transparent as possible, even though there is danger from radical groups wishing to stop the research. For example, in field trials for transgenic American chestnut and American elm, educational plots were included in the research design to give the public direct access to a part of the ongoing research. The public must become aware of the benefits of the research through the mass media and through public presentations. The benefits should not be overblown or understated, but factual. Only in this way will the public embrace the use of transgenic trees.

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