A new project to eradicate wasps, which cost the country millions of dollars, has begun in Dunedin. The key to that $11million project would be a genetically altered wasp, capable of destroying wasps colonies from the inside. Professor Peter Dearden, Genomics Aotearoa co-director, said: “We are using this as a test case for all New Zealand pests, a prototype for what can be done in the most ethical way, the safest way, and the way that follows the science.
“What we want is to develop research to make this firstly, scientifically possible, and secondly, offer a blueprint for how it can be done, if and when New Zealand decides we want to do it.” The nationwide research led by Genomics Aotearoa began with the opening of new labs in Dunedin this week. It will be in that controlled environment where researchers will make the transgenic organism – a wasp that has been genetically modified with a flaw.
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