The New York Times details how a researcher (Vincent L. Chiang) at North Carolina State University has developed a transgenic tree that contains only about 50% of the lignin of a normal tree. Less lignin is important to biofuel creation because lignin, which gives a tree its structural stiffness, also interferes with the process to turn cellulose into biofuel.
â€œThe only way to domesticate trees is through genetic engineering,” said Richard Meilan, associate professor of molecular tree physiology at Purdue. He said plantations of fast-growing trees for energy production would reduce the need to cut trees in natural forests. “Let’s domesticate those trees and grow them as commodities and not sacrifice our wild forests.”
Check out the article at the link above.