[ASC-media] Biotechnology moratoriums will not stop development of biotechnology applications

Young, Janine Janine.Young at biotechnology.gov.au
Thu Apr 29 09:57:24 EST 2004

Biotechnology Australia media release: 29 April 2004 
Biotechnology moratoriums will not stop development of biotechnology

Moratoriums on the commercial planting of GM canola in most states will
not necessarily prevent the development of other gene technologies that
have higher perceived benefits and fewer perceived risks, according to
Craig Cormick, the Manager of Public Awareness for the Australian
Government agency, Biotechnology Australia.
Speaking today at a forum at the Australian Centre for Plant Functional
Genomics in Adelaide, Mr Cormick said, "There are risks and benefits
associated with all new technologies, including gene technology, and
they need to be properly assessed before making decisions about whether
they are right for Australia."
Some biotechnology applications that people may need to make decisions
about include:
*  Biotechnology control of pest animals
*  Vegetables engineered to reduce cancer or heart disease
*  Salt-tolerant plants
*  Larger and faster-breeding fish and other seafoods, and
*  Plants that produce detergents, lubricants or plastics
"Unfortunately discussions on gene technology tend to be polarised into
single arguments, for or against, but people really need access to the
full facts and arguments to help them make more informed decisions," Mr
Cormick said.
He also said, "While state moratoriums mean genetically modified (GM)
canola will not be commercially grown in most states in Australia in the
short-term, this does not mean that other applications might not be more
widely embraced in the future."
"GM cotton that has been modified to have built-in pesticides is already
widely grown across Australia with broad support, and farmers and
consumers generally see many more benefits than risks," he said. "Other
applications currently under development that may have higher perceived
benefits include many health and medical applications, more nutritious
foods, and plants with built-in resistance to plant viruses."
Other GM applications that Biotechnology Australia surveys have shown
are perceived to have higher perceived benefits than risks includes
making plants more resistant to pests and using human genes to develop
medicines and vaccines.
However applications where the public still see more risks than benefits
include the use of gene technology in food and drink production and
using human genes in animals for growing organs.
Biotechnology Australia has produced several fact sheets to help inform
community discussion, including Arguments for and against genetic
modification and Current and potential biotechnology applications, which
are available on the Biotechnology Australia web site:
For further information: Craig Cormick, Biotechnology Australia, 0418
963 914.

Dr Janine Young
Public Awareness
Biotechnology Australia
Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources 
Level 9, 20 Allara Street, Canberra City, ACT 2601 
GPO Box 9839, Canberra ACT 2601 
Ph: +61-2-6213 6386 Fax: +61-2-6213 7615 
Email: janine.young at biotechnology.gov.au
Internet:  www.biotechnology.gov.au 
ABN 51 835 430 479

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