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5-Animals: NZ grants permission for GMO sheep field trial

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-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  NZ grants permission for GMO sheep field trial
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   November 1, 2000

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NZ grants permission for GMO sheep field trial

WELLINGTON - Permission has been given for a New Zealand government agency 
to field test up to 100 genetically modified sheep, the Environmental Risk 
Management Authority (ERMA) said yesterday. ERMA has approved an 
application by AgResearch to test sheep modified to make inactive the 
myostatin gene, which is thought to limit muscle growth. "In a majority 
decision the Committee concluded that it was very unlikely the sheep would 
escape from the containment facility," which consists of a two metre high 
double perimeter fence and an inner fence electronically monitored and 
alarmed, ERMA said.

The scientific benefits of the research into what the gene does to muscle 
development in animals, and the long term implications of improved health, 
economic and social outcomes outweighed the risk of any sheep escaping, 
ERMA chief executive officer Bas Walker told Reuters. ERMA said the sheep 
would be double tagged, with ewes implanted with an electronic microchip 
and rams fitted with a permanent fixed radio tracking device. At no stage 
would any of the genetically modified material be allowed to enter the food 
chain, ERMA said. If product from the GM sheep were ingested, it was 
extremely unlikely to produce any ill effects, ERMA added. 

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