Young scientists urge New Zealand’s Green Party to embrace CRISPR for ‘sake of the climate’

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Recently, there has been a shift in society’s view of genetic modification and its potential applications in the fight against climate change. This has led to a call for changes in our current policies from farmers and MPs alike. However, due to the Green Party’s current stance on this topic, New Zealand is unable to utilise genetic modification for anything that is not laboratory-based.

I am a member of the Emerging Scientists for Climate Action society, which involves students from universities all over New Zealand. We are writing an open letter to the Greens to encourage them to review their stance on genetic modification and the current laws and regulations around genetic engineering. Our overarching goal to tackle climate change aligns with the Greens, and they are in a position to make positive change. We have 155 signatures from emerging scientists (aged under 30) in support.

Related article:  CRISPR gene editing means more high-yield, disease-resistant crops likely to hit the market

[Editor’s note: Deborah Paull is studying for a Masters of Science in Microbiology at the University of Canterbury.]

Genetic modification is a controversial topic, and there is much misunderstanding about its techniques and applications. Genetic modification (aka genetic engineering) uses gene editing technologies and knowledge of genetics to make changes in an organism for a specific outcome. For example, a plant could be genetically modified to grow bigger to produce a higher yield.

Read full, original article: Time to break the stigma on genetic modification, for the sake of the climate

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