8 Aug 2008

Approval sought to expand GM animal research

10:42 am on 8 August 2008

AgResearch is seeking clearance from the Environmental Risk Management Authority to expand its genetically modified animal research.

It has made four applications to ERMA covering the laboratory testing of cell lines and smaller species of genetically-modified animals, as well as the outdoor testing of larger species in scientific containment facilities.

The animals include cattle, goats, sheep, possums and hamsters.

AgResearch wants to study the use of GM animals to produce antigens, biopharmaceuticals, enzymes, hormones and other products with possible health benefits and commercial applications.

It would do the initial work at its Ruakura facility in Waikato, where it has been carrying out transgenic animal studies for some years, including cows genetically modified to include human proteins in their milk.

It is also seeking approval to expand the trials to other sites.

ERMA says because of the complexity of the applications, it has extended the normal period for public comment until the end of October.