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New research means GE must STOP! Now

Astonishing new research means GE must STOP! Now

The Government must immediately review its GE strategy - in light of groundbreaking new DNA research showing that basic assumptions on GE are flawed, Green Party MP Sue Kedgley said today.

Ms Kedgley also called on the Government to delay the October lifting of the GE moratorium, at least until it had considered the implications of the new work, by New Zealand DNA expert Professor Alan Cooper and international colleagues.

The work reveals that ancient DNA can persist for as long as 400,000 years in some soils. Prof Cooper says his work raises serious questions over what happens to GE crop and animal DNA in the longer-term; and that it will get to many more places than previously thought - carried by wind and water movement. He says he does not think the Government knows enough yet to safely lift the moratorium on commercial releases of GE organisms.

"The work calls into question all the assumptions on which the Government's GE decisions have been based," Ms Kedgley said. "The assumptions have now been shown to be flawed.

"The work shoots holes in the Government's complacent attitude to GE release into the environment, and completely undermines its overly-relaxed and incorrect assumption that GE and non-GE crops and animals can happily co-exist," Ms Kedgley said.

"Clearly we do not yet know enough about either DNA or GE to proceed with GE releases, with or without caution.

"Instead of listening to the urgings of biotechnology multinationals, the Government must now listen to this new research from one of our own scientific leaders," Ms Kedgley said.

Prof Cooper co-authored a paper just published by the United States journal Science on the persistence of ancient DNA in dirt. He told NZPA the work illustrated how little we know about even basic ecological processes.

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