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No risk from horizontal gene transfer at Whakamaru

No risk from horizontal gene transfer at Whakamaru

There are already nearly four million people in New Zealand excreting the gene which GE-Free NZ claims is such a risk in horizontal gene transfer, the Chairman of the Life Sciences Network said today.

“GE-Free NZ should get their science right before rushing into print,” said Dr William Rolleston.

“The genetically modified sheep from Whakamaru have been producing a protein from a copy of a human gene. Most human beings have this gene – some do not.

“There are only 2500 sheep at Whakamaru and more than a thousand times that many humans who also have copy of the gene.

“The humans will shed the gene in their skin, their hair, their faeces and their urine. Our environment, all over New Zealand, will have the AAtP present in it – so if there’s a risk from horizontal gene transfer it has already occurred. The fact that nothing untoward has yet been identified is blindingly obvious to most people.

“It’s a pity that the GE-Free NZ people let their misunderstanding of the science involved, and their resistance to learning any more about it, get in the way of making sensible media statements,” concluded Dr Rolleston.


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