INDEPENDENT NEWS

Tamarillo protesters ignoring the benefits

Published: Fri 17 Dec 1999 12:30 AM
HortResearch is surprised that protesters feel a need to target the Kerikeri Research Centre with a weekend long protest against a small trial of transgenic tamarillos. Protesters often assert that more research is needed into the effects of genetic modification, yet at the same time they are attempting to stop research that will further advance knowledge in this area.
"HortResearch has followed all safety and other protocols required by the regulatory bodies " HortResearch Scientist Dan Cohen said.
"Success in overcoming the mosaic virus would remove a significant barrier to tamarillo exports and open the way for a major export business for Northland," Dr Cohen said.
The transgenic tamarillo trial at Kerikeri is being grown under strict rules. It was started in January 1998, which was pre the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA), though ERMA has since been involved in an inspection of the site.
Over a period of 20 years several attempts were made to obtain protection for tamarillos against the mosaic virus. None were successful and the mosaic virus continues to be a barrier to tamarillo exports.
Now using a transgenic approach it has been possible to insert a small part of the virus that infects most tamarillos into tamarillo plants. This is very similar to immunisation. The resulting trees proved to be resistant to virus infection in the laboratory and in controlled glasshouses.
After several years of laboratory tests, an application was made to test these plants in a contained field trial. And it was only after rigorous examination, including detailed questions about the risk of cross-pollination, that approval was granted. This trial is to see if the trees remain virus free in a natural environment. So far the tests are very encouraging.
The Tamarillo Growers Association have given strong encouragement to this trial, and Bruce Mulligan, Chairman of the Association said that anyone currently eating tamarillos is also consuming relatively large amounts of viral genes.
"The development of a virus-resistant tamarillo would be mutually beneficial, and also has the potential to reduce pesticide use, a widely accepted high priority to growers" he said.
ends

Next in Business, Science, and Tech

Biosecurity New Zealand – Situation Update 2
By: Biosecurity NZ
NZ dollar jumps a cent as Reserve Bank wrong-foots traders
By: BusinessDesk
Four endangered sea lions dead in nets in one week
By: Forest And Bird
Falling battery costs may outstrip Transpower projections
By: BusinessDesk
Devonport Queensland Fruit Fly Situation Update 1
By: Biosecurity NZ
Auckland – controls on produce movement in place
By: Ministry of Primary Industries
Official Cash Rate unchanged at 1.75 percent
By: Reserve Bank
Orr dovish but not as dovish as the market expected
By: BusinessDesk
Reserve Bank pushes out the likely date of next OCR move
By: BusinessDesk
RBNZ capital plan could see real-time bank stress test: KPMG
By: BusinessDesk
Inflation expectations ease in Reserve Bank survey
By: BusinessDesk
Wages rising faster than house price rises
By: New Zealand Government
Further evidence of weakening economic outlook
By: New Zealand National Party
RBNZ bets against Labour’s economy
By: ACT New Zealand
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media