GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 13th  May 2004

GM Maize threatens future seed purity

An article in Science Daily has printed a report on weed resistance found in GM corn refuges. The findings support the urgent need for MAF to order an immediate removal of any GM seed in the ground and a clean up of the suspected fields to protect our seed base. The government is playing down the incident but the seriousness of this issue cannot be taken lightly.

US laboratory Biogenetic Services need to be made accountable for this contamination as they have breached New Zealand's sovereignty.

Our export markets of Japan and Europe buy New Zealand produce for a range of reasons- including that New Zealand is a GM Free country with zero tolerance for GM seeds. MAF cannot let our economy or our food chain become a source of GM contamination that could continue increasing year by year.

There are concerns that GM Corn seeds could have out-crossed into regional and district council land refuges and become an established pollution reservoir. The testing-lab and the corporate owners of the GM construct should be fined and held liable following the findings of Justice QC Sommerville.

“Biotech companies must not be allowed to continue hiding behind shonky science, based on flawed understanding of genetics as recent research into 'junk DNA' shows.” says Claire Bleakley of GE Free (NZ) in food and environment.

The research found that the presence of exact copies of genes in different species suggests that even tiny changes in the sequence of these segments destroy whatever they do, and have been weeded out during evolution. Non-essential regions of DNA, by contrast, tend to accumulate mutations so that the sequences vary in different organisms.

"It appears that those pushing GM have not taken this into account when firing transgenes containing viral promoters, antibiotic marker genes and other DNA sequences from other species" says Claire Bleakley of GE Free (NZ) in food and environment. "Because of premature commercialisation the global GE experiment risks causing environmental damage, health problems and crop failures for generations to come."

MAF, FSANZ and ERMA must take a precautionary approach, reassess all previous GM applications and return these experimental products to the laboratories until more is known.

Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842

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Helen Pearson, 'Junk' DNA reveals vital role Inscrutable genetic sequences seem indispensable. Nature Science Update, 7 May 2004
http://www.nature.com/nsu/040503/040503-9.html

Resistance found in GM refuges Wind pollination carries Bt genes from GM maize into neighboring plants
|The Scientist Daily News 11 may 2004 By Cathy Holding

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