Deadly GE mutation leaves NZ Dangerously Exposed


ERMA has opened up New Zealand to new disease, if overseas examples of transgenic viral recombination are replicated here.

ERMA's latest GE animal approvals do not manage the risks indicated from an outbreak of a deadly GE strain of a common harmless cold type virus, adenovirus*, which infected infants attending a day care nursery and led 48 children to become sick and three to die.

The Journal of Microbiology [1] states

“Two different serotype 3 strains were circulating in Lisbon in 2004, and the new AdV7/3 recombinant type originated from only one of those strains. These results demonstrate that recombination leads to the emergence of new adenovirus strains with epidemic and lethal potential”

This finding has grave implications for all GE applications using disease causing vectors*

ERMA's dangerous precedent of approving ‘carte blanche’ unknown GMO's ignores the importance of understanding rAAV integration as it is not possible to estimate the risks of either ‘insertional activation or large scale rearrangements’. [2]

“The full details of the GE characteristics of the animals are to be provided to ERMA before they are to be released outdoors. Therefore it is imperative that ERMA moves to require comprehensive testing, vital in the event of tracing a GE-disease outbreak, before releasing any GE animals into the environment,” said Claire Bleakley of GE Free NZ in Food and Environment.

“This is important as, there is no country in the world that farms GE animal’s outdoors, so New Zealand is being put at the bleeding edge of such experiments”.

The earlier application to modify goats indoors to produce an unknown range of proteins using recombinant adenoviral vectors (rAAV) must also now be re-considered in light of these findings.

GE-Free NZ has previously asked for reassessment by ERMA of GE rabbits, dogs, cats, mice, guinea pigs, sheep and goats (GMD09011) in light of reports of chronic illness amongst scientists who could trace their illness to their work with experimental GMO’s.[3]

The latest approvals by ERMA open up New Zealand's agricultural sector to a potential economic disaster; this cannot be in the public interest.

ERMA in their reports say adenoviral vectors are safe; that mutation and escape is highly improbable and that the Ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and others should be responsible for GE management.[4]

“This opinion is not only dangerous but shows that the ERMA Authority and staff are so blinded by their belief in advancing GE, that they dismiss any evidence of concerns that conflict with their views,” said Claire Bleakley of GE Free NZ in food and environment.

"The Journal of Micro Biology has confirmed that a recombinant (GE) strain of the Adenovirus has proven deadly and has potential of spreading widely. ERMA has shown it does not have the expertise or information for comprehensively evaluating GE research."

After ten years of experimentation by AgResearch there are still no published environmental studies or diagnostic tools to identify if any strains have escaped from Ruakura. No testing has been done.

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” said Mrs. Bleakley. “There is an unacceptable lack of precaution and ERMA is increasing risk by moving out of its jurisdiction into unsubstantiated supposition.”

An immediate re-assessment must be done on all GE experiments in light of this new study and all outdoor experiments must be cancelled.


Claire Bleakley 06 3089842/ 027 348 6731

Jon Carapiet 0210507681

Common Adeno viruses are responsible for the common cold type illness. Their strength in GE is they can sit in a cell and help activate larger viruses like HIV and herpes, so they are often called helper viruses.

ERMA GE animal (GMD200223) decision uses vectors to genetically engineer animals that are to be kept outdoors. The GE animals will be kept in a 200 acre field with only a two deer height fences surrounded by hurricane wire. There is no segregation between the different GM animals. The waste effluent and milk is to be spread over the ground for 20 years near the residential area of Hamilton.

**vectors are bacterial and viral DNA that help to deliver the synthetic gene into the cells. A vector must be capable of self-replicating inside a cell.

[1] Rebelo-de-Andrade H, Pereira O, Gíria M, Prudêncio E, Brito M, Calé E and Taveira N (2010) Outbreak of Acute Respiratory Infection among Infants in Lisbon, Portugal, Caused by Human Adenovirus Serotype 3 and a New 7/3 Recombinant Strain. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, p. 1391-1396, Vol. 48, No.4. doi:10.1128/JCM.02019-09

[2] Mccarty DM, (2008) Recombinant AAV vector recombination, integration and genotoxicity.http://www.researchgrantdatabase.com/g/5R01AI070244-03/Recombinant-AAV-Gene-Therapy-Vector-Recombination-Integration-and-Genotoxicity/

[3] Akst J., Plague may have killed researcher 21st/09/09, The Scientist


Becky Mcclain Vs Pfizer, Inc. Civil Action No. 3:06-Cv-01795-Sru: February 16, 2007

Kaiser papers: biotechnology News, http://biotechnology.kaiserpapers.info

Amputee scientist infected at lab: I can move on now, The Dominion Post, 03/08/2008 http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/562741

[4] Turin L., Invernizzi P., Woodcock M., Grati F., Riva F., Tribbioli G and Götz Laible G. 2007, Bovine fetal microchimerism in normal and embryo transfer pregnancies and its implications for biotechnology applications in cattle, Journal of Biotechnology, Vol: 2, 486–491

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