Dispute between GMO scientists blamed for biosafety breach
Again we stress that the statement by the president of French research institute INRA that the GMO lamb posed no risk to human health is utterly without scientific foundation. No research has apparently been done on the GMO lamb to test whether it is safe to eat.
EXCERPT: Malpaux said a laboratory technician had been provisionally suspended and will face a disciplinary hearing in July. “We don’t know his motive or aim precisely, but the atmosphere within the team could be behind this behaviour,” he said.
Lamb with jellyfish gene "may have been deliberately sent to abattoir"
The Guardian, 23 June 2015
* Lamb genetically modified with jellyfish protein may have been sent from Paris lab to abattoir after dispute between researchers – and ended up on someone’s plate
A lamb born with a jellyfish gene was mistakenly sold for human consumption and probably ended up on someone’s plate, French authorities have said. A dispute between researchers at a highly respected national institute may have been the cause of the animal being deliberately sent to the abattoir last year. Police have now been called in and an inquiry launched into how the lamb could have been passed as fit for human consumption.
Le Parisien newspaper reported that the animal’s mother was a sheep called Emeraude whose DNA had been modified to include a jellyfish gene called Green Fluorescent Protein by researchers at the National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA) in Paris. Her lamb, Rubis, was born with the gene in the spring of 2014. Although produced for research purposes, Rubis was allegedly deliberately mixed with several other lambs that had not been genetically modified and sent to an abattoir.
The president of the INRA, Benoît Malpaux, described the apparently “malicious act” as unacceptable, but was quick to reassure the public that there was no risk to humans. “The consumption of this meat presents no risk for the health for the consumer,” he said. “We are sure that individual acts that are unacceptable were committed … followed by a chain of errors and responsibilities within the hierarchy.”
In what could have been the plot of a science fiction film, Emeraude and Rubis were reportedly part of a programme called Green Sheep launched in 2009, aimed at carrying out experiments on mammals for “therapeutic research”. The jellyfish protein was reportedly introduced into the sheep to make their skin transparent and enable researchers to “visualise and study heart transplants”.
Investigators suspect a researcher may have tricked his superior into signing a document sending the animal to the abattoir where it was sold to an unknown individual in November 2014. When the the team leader discovered the deception, he failed to report the missing animal to his bosses. Working relations between the two men were said to have been tense.
Malpaux said a laboratory technician had been provisionally suspended and will face a disciplinary hearing in July. “We don’t know his motive or aim precisely, but the atmosphere within the team could be behind this behaviour,” he said. “The facts are unacceptable and call for the greatest severity. We are a world-renowned institute and we cannot tolerate such actions.”