Calls for Government to control importation of gene editing kits

Long Lunch 21/05/2018
DNA genetics. Photo credit: iStock.

Gene editing kits are creating a new biosecurity and public health risk for New Zealand that needs to be addressed, GE Free NZ says.

The group is calling for the government to introduce controls on the importation of gene editing kits.

A gene editing kit is exactly what it sounds like. Anyone is able to purchase one online and then start bio-hacking their genetics at home.

Spokesperson Jon Carapiet told Wendyl Nissen on RadioLIVE that fooling around with genetic engineering is fraught with danger.

“They are so simple and so easy, anyone can do them. That’s why we’re calling the alarm to say actually it’s like anything that might be imported into New Zealand that is dangerous, it can be weaponised, it can be used extremely foolishly,” he told RadioLIVE.

We believe the Government needs to act to stop their importation, make them a declared item and actually try and regulate these things.

New Zealand was the first country to address the new gene editing technologies.

Gene Free NZ says MPI must ensure strict border controls.

“Mandatory declaration and other measures are needed to restrict the spread of gene kits,” it said in a statement.

Listen to the full interview with Jon Carapiet above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.