Suzano’s FuturaGene Unit to Research GM Eucalyptus in Brazil

FuturaGene Ltd. U.K., held by Suzano Papel & Celulose SA (SUZB5), will study genetic-modification technology with the Brazilian government’s agricultural-research agency as the Latin American country seeks to boost eucalyptus yields.

Their first project will involve inserting an aluminum- tolerance gene into eucalyptus in areas affected by metal toxicity in the soil, FuturaGene said today in a statement. Inserting genes into trees can increase yields for clean-power generation or for making pulp and paper.

“Agro-forestry is a key weapon in fighting climate change and driving socioeconomic development,” Stanley Hirsch, chief executive officer at FuturaGene, said in the statement. The research will improve plant resilience, the capacity to restore degraded land and species’ climate adaptation, he said.

FuturaGene and the Brazilian agency, Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria, will also research other tree species in the country and elsewhere, according to the statement. FuturaGene was bought by Suzano in July 2010.

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