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Publications archive - International Activities and Commitments

Disclaimer

Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Australia's report to the UNCSD - 1995

Implementation of Agenda 21
Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1995
ISBN 0 6444 3152 0

Case study - Gene shears

Gene Shears technology is at the forefront of the fast changing biotechnology industry. The Gene Shears ribozymes breakthrough came from basic research into the molecular structure of a parasite plant virus conducted in Australia by Drs Jim Haseloff and Wayne Gerlach of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) . Although not originally envisaged to lead to such a significant discovery, their work yielded unexpected dividends - the discovery that they could design and create 'hammerhead' ribozymes to target and cut specific Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) molecules.

This discovery means that ribozymes can provide a way to selectively interrupt the operation of, or cut out, genes - hence the name 'Gene Shears'. Gene Shears ribozymes are potentially a very powerful tool that can be directed against genes with harmful or undesirable characteristics.

The Gene Shears technology aims to benefit plant and animal science and the pharmaceutical and food industries.

In agriculture, new technologies associated with Gene Shears aim to secure farmers' incomes, fight plant and animal diseases and benefit the environment. Some examples include:

In human medicine Gene Shears is contributing towards the development of safe and affordable gene therapies for presently incurable diseases. This includes: