Chapter

Building a Better Tree

W. Scott Prudham

in Engineering Trouble

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780520237612
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937499 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520237612.003.0003
Building a Better Tree

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This chapter reviews the basic architecture of Tree Genetic Engineering Research Cooperative (TGERC) research. It describes the two institutional influences on the TGERC: (1) the tradition of public and cooperative scientific approaches to rationalizing forest growth in the United States in general and Oregon in particular and (2) shifts in industry–academic relations. The chapter then investigates the ways in which the TGERC must confront tensions between these two traditions. The commercial deployment of TGERC-engineered varieties could represent the first use of genetic engineering in commercial forestry. Oregon State University is established as one of the leading institutions for forestry research, with a worldwide reputation. The success of the silvicultural co-ops relies on a high degree of sharing and on relatively informal intellectual-property regimes. Embedding biotechnology in political-economic histories is critical to understanding the character and significance of particular technologies and technological change.

Keywords: TGERC; forest growth; Oregon; commercial forestry; Oregon State University; Washington; fiber farming

Chapter.  9338 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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