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ERMA approves GM research

21 Apr, 2010

Source: Various sources

AgResearch has received permission from the Environment Risk Management Authority (ERMA) to genetically modify mice, goats, sheep, cattle and bacterial and mammalian cells.

The purpose of the work is to use human DNA to produce therapeutic proteins for humans in the animals’ milk.

ERMA approved the research but with conditions designed to prevent the genetically engineered animal products from reaching the food chain. One of the conditions makes it illegal for Māori genes to be used but legal for other human genes to be used.

The Authority said it believes the main benefit of the work will be an increase in scientific knowledge and capacity for innovation in New Zealand.

“This sets the scene for potentially building a New Zealand biopharmaceuticals research programme that can save lives and alleviate suffering all around the world,” Dr Jimmie Suttie of AgResearch says.

Cows are valuable to the researchers because they can produce proteins easily, he added.

The DNA constructs will be used in mice before being used to modify larger animals.

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