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Challenge to GE research a potential tragedy

Challenge to GE research a potential tragedy

The High Court Challenge by Mothers Against Genetic Engineering to AgResearch’s human gene on animal research threatens to further delay vital tests which could benefit all Kiwis, according to National’s Science spokesman.

“The research is focused on human health and therapeutics and it has already been rigorously tested by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA),” says Dr Paul Hutchison.

“This latest legal action could delay the experiments a further 12 months, or more.”

The Royal Commission on Genetic Engineering endorsed ERMA as ‘carrying out their functions conscientiously and soundly’.

“It’s of huge concern that the last transgenic cow application cost AgResearch more than $500,000 and this application may well surpass that,” he says.

“Recently I visited Australia and Taiwan who both rigorously test GE research, but neither face anywhere near the bureaucratic hurdles that New Zealand researchers face,” says Dr Hutchison.

“It’s extremely important for agricultural and medical research, as well as biosecurity in New Zealand, that our scientists are able to carry out research without the huge extra costs created by these legal challenges.

“I’m still very concerned the Government will tighten up the HSNO Act further and the Bioethics Committee will not have a sense of ‘timelines’ for research applications.

“That, along with vexatious legal challenges, may either put a stop to vital New Zealand research or send it overseas,” says Dr Hutchison.

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