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EPA working with MPI to address GM breach at Lincoln Univers

Media release

EPA working with MPI to address GM breach at Lincoln University

19 March 2013

The Environmental Protection Authority is working with the Ministry for Primary Industries and Lincoln University to determine how a genetically modified (GM) fungus came to be used outside approved containment facilities at Lincoln University.

Lincoln University informed MPI and the Environmental Protection Authority on 7 March that a fungus (Beauveria bassiana) it was researching was potentially a GM strain.

The fungus was being researched indoors in laboratory or glasshouse facilities.

It had initially been thought to be a wild strain that is already present in the environment, and so was being researched outside approved GM containment facilities.

The EPA’s principal scientist, Dr Geoff Ridley, says the potential risk to humans or animals is very low.

“There is no evidence to suggest that genetic modifications that may have been made to the fungus in these labs have increased any health or environmental risk.”

MPI is working with Lincoln University to make sure that all of the known samples and plant materials containing the fungus have been contained or destroyed.

ENDS

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