Expert panel recommends "overhaul" of gene editing regulations

Leah Panapa 18/12/2019

An expert panel has concluded that gene editing regulations in New Zealand are in need of an overhaul. 

The panel was set up by Royal Society Te Apārangi to investigate the impact of new technologies, specifically those that allow more controlled and precise editing of genes.

Professor at the University of Otago and panel member Peter Dearden joins Magic Mornings to explain what New Zealand needs to consider when it comes to gene editing.

Leah begins the interview by asking the Professor if concerns that genetically modified crops might mutate into “super-weeds” are valid, but Dearden clarifies that, “with all of the products we might talk about… testing really needs to be done.”

He goes on to explain that technology needs to be used within the context of the country they are used in.

We should be using these technologies to solve problems for New Zealand.

He uses wasps as an example that might not be profitable for overseas companies but using gene editing to better control the wasp population in New Zealand could have wide ranging benefits.

He also explains Australia has more relaxed laws with regard to gene editing, but that the challenges in New Zealand are different with difficulties in scaling experiments.

You can watch the interview above.