Genetic Jailbreak: GMO Fungus Escapes in New Zealand


by Shicana Allen

There is now another fungus, among us…this one being an escapee from a genetic engineering laboratory at Lincoln University in New Zealand.  The refugee fungus, named Beauveria bassiana, occurs naturally in soils throughout the world and has been employed by mankind as a biological insecticide to control a variety of pests. In a classic case of mistaken identity, scientists confused the GMO fungus with its wild strain already present in the environment. As a result, despite constant reassurances given the public that potentially dangerous organisms are contained securely within research labs, this experiment was not conducted within the required and approved genetic modification containment facilities. The buildings suspected of the leak have been shut down until the severity and extent of the situation are fully understood.  Don’t hold your breath, though; almost two weeks after the incident, investigators are still at a loss as to how it occurred.  To top that off, both the university and research agency involved had been previously implicated or found responsible for other GE experiment breaches.  So much for safeguards and assurances. Tragically, self-propagating genetic pollution is permanent. It cannot be recalled from the environment.

Shicana Allen has been a health, environmental, and food safety advocate, writer, and public speaker for over 20 years

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