Previously known as Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics PSRGNZ - Charitable Trust
Affiliated to the international organisation PSRAST - Physicians and Scientists for the Responsible Application of Science and Technology
As required under the new 2005 Charities Act, PSGR has reregistered as a charitable trust.

2013 Testimony to the Northland Regional Council 21 June 2013

Testimony to the Northland Regional Council

21 June 2013

Peter R Wills

Department of Physics

The University of Auckland


I am a theoretical biologist with 30 years research experience at The University of Auckland, the United States National Institutes of Health and Santa Fe Institute and a large number of research institutes and universities in Germany, most recently the Universität Tübingen. My main area of research concerns the way in which biological systems interpret genetic information. My latest publications in this area are about:

[1]pathological reinterpretation of host genetic information by prion agents;

[2]the fundamental character of genetic information and coding in nature;

[3]biomimetic “genetic coding” control of electronic-chemicalnano-particles;

[4]ethical and societal aspects of new biotechnologies.

This research is concerned with the foundations of genetics and the processes responsible for expressing the effects of genetic changes, including those produced by using techniques of genetic engineering (GE). My professional contributions to discussions about genetic engineering include:

[5]commentary for the Bioethics Council;

[6]comprehensive testimony to the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification;

[7]testimony to the Waitangi tribunal;

[8]chapter in a book about GE;

[9]internationally published scholarly work;

[10]authorship of an international scientists’ statement about GE.

In 1987 I was the first researcher ever to use the NZ Official Information Act to gain access to government documents concerning the regulation of genetic engineering activities in New Zealand and I made many submissions to the Environmental Risk Management Authority and the Australia New Zealand Food Authority during the 1990s. I take great care to separate scientific issues from policy issues and value judgments. I likewise take a cautious approach to claims of scientific certainty. I am a founding trustee of Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility (New Zealand).

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