Queensland scientists have confirmed the first gene therapy to be approved by the Government of Queensland is safe and effective for the reintroduction of foxes into the state.
Key points:The state government says the study will not take place until a study is done on the effect on health of the treatmentCats with the gene therapy will be given free access to a free zoo in the area and the study of the impact of the gene therapies on foxes will be carried out in Queensland”The Queensland Government has confirmed the approval of Gene Therapy in foxes for reintroduction in Queensland.”
The study will take place in Queensland for at least one year, after which the State Government will conduct a full assessment of the effect of the Gene Therapy on fox populations.
“It is important that the Government takes into account the long-term effects of the genetic modification in the fox population in Queensland.”
Queensland Agriculture Minister Simon Corbell said the State had conducted the research, which involved a team of geneticists from the University of Queensland, in consultation with the Federal Government.
“In Queensland, we have conducted a large number of genetic experiments on fox and rabbit populations,” he said.
“So the Government is aware of the risks involved in these genetic experiments, but it is the safety of the animals that is of paramount importance.”
Mr Corbell says the State will conduct the gene-therapy trials in collaboration with the FIFRA accredited laboratory in Townsville, where the gene testing is to take place.
He said the project would also be funded by the Queensland Government.
The Federal Government says it has “committed to ensure that our fox breeding program is scientifically robust and that all genes in the gene flow will be monitored and assessed to ensure any risks to the foxes are reduced”.
Queenslands Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Government would ensure the Government-owned labs that were to be involved in the research complied with federal requirements.
“This research is the culmination of years of careful planning, research and investment,” she said.
“This will allow the Queensland government to ensure the gene transfer is safe, and will ensure the genes that are transferred to foxes from foxes in the wild are maintained.”
Queenslanders fox population will undergo testingGene therapy, in which a gene is inserted into a wild animal’s DNA, has been used in many countries around the world.
The Australian Government’s National Genomics Agency says gene therapy is safe for the introduction of fox genes into the wild.
“There are many genes in this group that are currently in the world that are safe to introduce into a domesticated animal,” the agency said.
In the United States, gene therapy has been approved for the transfer of genes to wild populations.
In China, the National Genome Research Institute says gene transfer to wild foxes has been proven safe.