Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Innovation stifled by High Court decision

Innovation stifled by High Court decision

Crown Research Institute Scion says that the recent High Court decision concerning new plant breeding technologies demonstrates that the 15-year old legislation and regulations covering genetically modified organisms are seriously deficient.

Scion CEO Warren Parker said, “Indeed, the judge noted that the regulations are not well drafted, and led to the different interpretations put before the Court”.

This decision puts New Zealand at odds with other regulators around the world (e.g. US, Australia, Germany), who have stated opinions that organisms resulting from these technologies are not regarded as genetically modified.

“Not only does this decision put us behind other countries, it blocks New Zealand’s ability to innovate and reduces our options to respond scientifically to issues that affect our primary production,” said Dr Parker.

“Our regulators need to be able to apply sound scientific principles to decision-making,” said Elspeth MacRae, Scion’s General Manager of Manufacturing and Bioproducts.

“In this instance, the two technologies - “ZFN-1” and “TALEs” - alter the genetic code of an organism but without the introduction of foreign genetic material into the genome of the cell. The technologies allow targeted mutations that are more precise and scientifically predictable than mutations achieved through traditional breeding methods,” explained Dr MacRae.

Such technologies are particularly important for forestry, which has long breeding cycles. Use of new breeding technologies like these, provide the forestry industry with a rapid response to issues that are becoming increasingly important.

Scion would like to use the techniques for preventing the spread of wilding-pines, increasing tolerance to climate change, resistance to pathogens and improving wood quality and growth rate in response to shifts in the market place.

Technologies will continue to evolve and should be subject to a regulatory regime. The emphasis however, should not just focus on the techniques; it needs to also look at the changes (i.e., traits) being sought. In this instance, the target traits would fall within the natural variability of plant genomes and could be achieved with traditional breeding methods, but it would take many years and with less precision.

The new breeding technologies that were the subject of the High Court decision would result in plants that that are similar or indistinguishable from plants developed from traditional breeding methods. Regulating these techniques poses an unnecessary burden on the industry and stifles innovation.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


DIY: Kiwi Ingenuity And Masking Tape Saves Chick

Kiwi ingenuity and masking tape has saved a Kiwi chick after its egg was badly damaged endangering the chick's life. The egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker with a large hole in its shell and against all odds has just successfully hatched. More>>


Trade: Key To Lead Mission To India; ASEAN FTA Review Announced

Prime Minister John Key will lead a trade delegation to India next week, saying the pursuit of a free trade agreement with the protectionist giant is "the primary reason we're going" but playing down the likelihood of early progress. More>>



MYOB: Digital Signatures Go Live

From today, Inland Revenue will begin accepting “digital signatures”, saving businesses and their accountants a huge amount of administration time and further reducing the need for pen and paper in the workplace. More>>

Oil Searches: Norway's Statoil Quits Reinga Basin

Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil company, has given up oil and gas exploration in Northland's Reinga Basin, saying the probably of a find was 'too low'. More>>


Modern Living: Auckland Development Blowouts Reminiscent Of Run Up To GFC

The collapse of property developments in Auckland is "almost groundhog day" to the run-up of the global financial crisis in 2007/2008 as banks refuse to fund projects due to blowouts in construction and labour costs, says John Kensington, the author of KPMG's Financial Institutions Performance Survey. More>>


Health: New Zealand's First ‘No Sugary Drinks’ Logo Unveiled

New Zealand’s first “no sugary drinks logo” has been unveiled at an event in Wellington... It will empower communities around New Zealand to lift their health and wellbeing and send a clear message about the damage caused by too much sugar in our diets. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news