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

 

Diversity at Risk

PRESS RELEASE from PHYSICIANS AND SCIENTISTS FOR RESPONSIBLE GENETICS

5 October 2001

Diversity at Risk

The discovery in Mexico of native corn varieties contaminated by transgenic DNA should raise alarm bells for New Zealand. Tested under government sponsored research, 15 of 22 sites proved positive. Researchers identified DNA sequences from the cauliflower mosaic virus, used widely in engineering plants.

Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics (PSRG) are part of a large body of scientific opinion world-wide that engineered organisms have been released into the environment, whether as inadequately contained field trials or commercial release, with insufficient - in some cases without any - research into the effects on the environment and humankind.

How the contamination occurred is not yet known, but it is presumed to be from transgenic crops. Although Mexico has not approved commercial planting of engineered organisms, it does import transgenic corn. Mexicans have fought hard to keep Mexico GE-free recognizing the danger to their native varieties, which were considered pristine, and the progenitor of domesticated corn, teosinte, Zea mexicana. Corn (maize) is revered by Mexicans and forms an integral part of their religious and cultural heritage.

Scientists at the John Innes Centre (JIC), Britain’s leading plant research institute, have publicly admitted that transgenic crops are failing. The JIC is publicly funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), houses the Sainsbury Laboratory and has research alliances with Zeneca and Dupont.

Though staunch GE technology proponents, they are now pointing to the same problems in the same scientific papers published in specialist journals that opponents have drawn attention to, highlighting the instability of GE constructs and GE lines. This instability raises serious safety concerns, that transgenic genes will spread horizontally to unrelated species, creating new bacteria and viruses by recombination. Recently, it has been argued that the promoter from cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV 35S promoter), which is in practically all transgenic crops commercialised or undergoing field trials, will make GE constructs and GE lines more unstable, exacerbating the problems of horizontal gene transfer and recombination.

Mexico does not enjoy New Zealand’s unique isolation. The contamination emphasises the urgent need to extend the New Zealand moratorium on the release of engineered organisms into the environment. As an isolated island, New Zealand has a unique opportunity to preserve its agriculture and ecological heritage.

(373 words)


440a Otumoetai Road, TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND

telephone or fax 64 7 576 5721

roberta@clear.net.nz

Secretary: Jean Anderson


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Frog Recruitment: Kiwi Workers Reluctant To Make Business Trips Across The Ditch Despite Trans-Tasman Bubble Opening

When the trans-Tasman travel bubble opens today, many Kiwi companies won't be rushing to buy an air ticket, reluctant to cross the ditch to do business. The latest survey conducted by leading recruitment agency, Frog Recruitment of nearly 1,000 New Zealand ... More>>

Tourism: Employers Welcome Back Working Holidaymakers

Tourism businesses gearing up for the return of Australian visitors from next week will be relieved to learn that they will also have access to an offshore pool of much-needed job candidates, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says. Tourism employers around ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Latest Broadband Report Confirms Improved Performance Of Premium Fibre Plans

The latest report from the Commerce Commission’s Measuring Broadband New Zealand programme shows that the performance of Fibre Max plans has improved substantially. This follows a collaboration between the Commission, its independent testing partner, ... More>>

Air New Zealand: Capital Raise Deferred

Air New Zealand has decided to defer its planned capital raise to later in 2021 allowing more time to assess the impacts of recent developments on the airline’s path to recovery. 'We’ve seen some clearing of COVID-19 clouds recently, with ... More>>


Stats NZ: New Report Shows Impact Of Demands On Land In New Zealand

A new environmental report released today by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ, presents new data on New Zealand’s land cover, soil quality, and land fragmentation. The land cover data in the report, Our land 2021 , provides the most ... More>>

ALSO:

Stats NZ: March Card Spending Rebounds Despite COVID

There was a lift in retail card spending in March following a fall in the lockdown-disrupted February month, Stats NZ said today. Seasonally adjusted retail card spending rose by $53 million (0.9 percent), compared with February 2021. Visit our website to read ... More>>

PwC: Outcome Of Review Into Air New Zealand Gas Turbines Business

Air New Zealand has received the report into its Gas Turbines business from independent external advisers PwC. Air New Zealand Chairman Dame Therese Walsh says the report identified a range of effective controls in the Gas Turbines revenue contracting ... More>>