A New Zealand state research institute will begin inserting genes from goats, pigs, sheep, mice and humans into cattle in an experiment to determine whether cattle can produce proteins to treat medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

The institute, AgResearch, got permission yesterday to begin the experiments after a committe of the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) approved its plans.

The approval is significant for New Zealand because the country relies heavily on agricultural produce and advertises itself as having a pristine environment.

This will be the first genetic modification experiment in New Zealand outside a laboratory, and it comes at a time when the government plans to proceed with lifting a ban on the commercial production of genetically modified organisms.

The experiment itself is also significant, as it could help advance treatments for preventing multiple sclerosis and minimizing its symptoms.

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