GENTECH archive


Greens and Ingham apologise to Royal Commission

Greens and Ingham apologise to Royal Commission for misleading evidence.


Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand
Amendment to evidence presented to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Genetic Modification

Due to new facts coming to light since the presentation of our evidence on 01 February 2001, the Green Party wishes to amend its evidence as follows:

1. The Green Party incorrectly cited a paper that it has since discovered in a literature search does not exist. The paper was cited as Holmes M and E R Ingham (1999) Ecological effects of genetically engineered Klebsiella planticola released into agricultural soil with varying clay content, Applied Soil Ecology 3:394-399. The Green Party accepts that this reference is wrong and apologises to the Commission for misleading it.
2. We would like to correct the statement in paragraph 39 on page 29 of our evidence that the genetically engineered bacterium has been approved for field testing. The Green Party accepts there are no records indicating that field testing approval was ever given. This has been confirmed to us by Professor Terri Lomax at Oregon State University.
3. In addition, the Green Party would like to request that the Commission disregard the final sentence in paragraph 39, recognising that this statement goes beyond the published literature.
4. The Green Party also would like to make clear in regard to the same paragraph, that the published literature shows that when a genetically engineered Klebsiella planticola was added to one particular type of soil with plants, plants unexpectedly died. The correct reference for this paragraph is MT Holmes, ER Ingham, JD Doyle, CS Hendricks "Effects of Klebsiella planticola SDF20 on soil biota and wheat growth in sandy soil" Applied Soil Ecology 11 (1999) 67-78.
5. This is an example of an unanticipated effect from the introduction of a genetically engineered organism. It should be taken to say no more nor less that that. The Green Party does not believe the published research so far supports the further conclusion that the likely effect of allowing a field trial of the genetically engineered bacterium to go ahead would have been to destroy all terrestrial plants.
6. Finally the Green Party would like to apologise to the Royal Commission for providing incorrect information in error, and thank them for allowing us to set the record straight.


Jeanette Fitzsimons
Co-leader of the Green Party

[copied from a facsimile]

Soil Foodweb Inc
1128 NE 2nd St
Suite 120
Corvallis, Oregon 97330
01 March 2001

Dear Sir Thomas and Commissioners,

I gave evidence before you on 01 February on behalf of the Green Party. I would like to make the following corrections to my evidence:

1. I was incorrect in stating that the specific genetically engineered Klebsiella Planticola I was talking about had been approved for field trails and was going to be released. I had received this information from third party sources and was mistaken about it.
2. In my written and oral presentations I inadvertently cited a paper co-authored with Michael Holmes which to the best of my knowledge has not been published. I accept and apologise for this error.
3. I stand by the conclusion of the paper co-authored with Michael Holmes et al "Effects of Klebsiella planticola SDF20 on soil biota and wheat growth in sandy soil" Applied Soil Ecology 11 (1999) 67-78, which states "further investigation is needed to determine the extent these observations may occur in situ but this study using soil microcosms was the first step in assessing potential for the release of genetically engineered micro-organisms to result in ecological effects". I believe further research can and should be carried out in the laboratory and not in the field.
4. I would like to make clear that the possibility of destruction of terrestrial plants that I referred to as an outcome of releasing this organism is an extrapolation from the laboratory evidence. It is one possible scenario, based on the findings that introducing the genetically engineered bacterium into this type of soil killed or harmed plants. There are other possible scenarios which could occur, we need more data to be able to make a clear judgement on the most likely outcome.
5. I would also like to clarify that soil tests I set out are intended to indicate the kinds of soil tests which could be carried out to determine the effects of introducing genetically engineered organisms into the soil, based on the soil tests I am familiar with. I am not suggesting this is a definitive set of methods for analysing the effects of genetically modified organisms on soil.

I would be grateful if the Royal Commission could take account of this correction when considering my evidence.

Yours sincerely


Dr Elaine Ingham