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Maori Researcher Says GEPoses Risks For Humanity

Maori Researcher Says Genetic Engineering Poses Risks For Humanity

Press Release: Nga Wahine Tiaki o te Ao
Date: September 1 2000 02:00 a.m.

Donna Gardiner, a Maori researcher, says "genetic engineering poses risks for humanity because human biology can be manipulated in a manner that redefines what it is to be human. Maori activists have already had to take a very active stance on this concern."

Donna has written extensively on the movement of Selbourne Biological Services and PPL Therapeutics in the Tauranga area of Aotearoa New Zealand. Selbourne Biological Services imported human DNA for insertion into sheep, those sheep are bred in Tauranga.

In her research Donna has outlined the manipulative practices of the company to gain access to Tauranga. Her research found that the company asserted by letter to the Ministry of Environment that five members of the Ngati He/Ngai Te Ahi tribes had formalized approval of the company's application. Four of the five tribal members identified in the letter stated that they had not given any such approval. After some probing, they realized that one of their members had indeed signed a letter composed by the company, after being convinced the research was for the "greater good of mankind."

Gardiner states that "the thought of human and animal genes being mixed is totally abhorrent and offensive both culturally and morally."

"This incident highlights the potential for human genetic manipulation when mechanisms for oversight, control, and accountability are lacking," she said.

"Unfortunately the concerns do not stop with human genetics ‹ they also extend into other animals and plants. Genetic research is combining genetic sequences from all sorts of species, which normally would not be able to reproduce together naturally. Further, agricultural corporations are developing, conducting field trials, and marketing species that are designed to have traits seen to be beneficial to the corporate bottom line- -such as the inability to reproduce," Donna Gardiner concluded.

Kua Mutu.

For Further Information Contact Nga Wahine Tiaki o te Ao
Donna Gardiner Mobile: 025-243-2172

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