Otago University's genetics lecture presented last night in Wellington, and to be presented in Auckland tonight, is outdated and unfair.
The "Should We Swallow It" lecture by John Knight supports GE food but is wrong to be confusing traditional modification of food with the very different processes of genetic engineering.(1)
It is also inappropriate and adds to the lack of fairness in the lecture, that it features video of a live TV debate that was found to constitute a breach of broadcasting standards.
The lecture pushing a pro-GE agenda uses a clip from Holmes aired on TVNZ, that was found to lack balance by the Broadcasting Standards Authority.(2)
The lecture also presents research that is out-dated and misleading about the growing evidence against GE release into the environment.
"The research is confused and a waste of public money," says Claire Bleakley from GE-Free NZ in food and environment.
One major problem that makes the findings deceptive is the failure to differentiate between natural selection (GM) and genetic engineering (GE) in the questions used.
Research questions need to be accurate and reflect participants understanding of what is asked, or they become misleading.
The data being presented is useless as input for Government decsion-making, and betrays a lack of understanding of the subject by the researcher.
"John Knight seems to be out of his depth and to have been seduced into a false understanding of GE. He knows little about the difference between natural selection of plant breeding and laboratory transgenics (GE) of plants," says Claire Bleakley.
The profile given to the research by Otago University suggests powerful influences are engineering the debate, and seeking to ignore public concerns.
1) John Knight - Should we swallow it? Exploding the myth about perceptions of genetic modification http://www.otago.ac.nz/genetics/news/2012lectureseries/index.html • Wellington - 6pm 29th August • Auckland - 6pm 30th August