Genetic modification

Page last updated: Wednesday, 29 November 2017 - 2:24pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

This page contains a summary of genetic modification and the Australian genetically modified organism-related legislation, and introduces the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development's New Genes for New Environments facilties.

Genetic modification and legislation

In Australia, the Gene Technology Act 2000 and the Gene Technology Regulations 2001 define exactly what is considered to be genetic modification under Australian law.

In layman's terms, genetic modification is the transfer of genes from one living thing into another by means other than sexual reproduction. The gene transfer can be between species that cannot produce progeny by sexual reproduction, such as bacteria and plants. Or the transfer can be between species that are sexually compatible. This type of transfer is called cisgenesis (from the same beginning).

The transfer of a targeted gene or genes between non-sexually compatible or between sexually compatible species is a rapid and precise method for developing new varieties with specific traits.

New Genes for New Environments (NGNE) facilities

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) manages the NGNE genetically modified crop research facilites. The NGNE initiative was designed to enable the evaluation of the world’s best candidate GM traits from both public and private research organisations under Western Australian conditions, in a highly contained and safe testing environment.

The NGNE initiative compliments the Managed Environment Facility (MEF) which provides world class research support for yield and quality improvements. The NGNE and MEF initititives demonstrate DPIRD working with industry partners to improve the productivity and profitability of Western Australian Grain Growers.

Contact information

Genetic Modification Policy and Regulation