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The Genetically Modified Organisms (Northern Ireland) Order 1991

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Purpose of Order and meaning of “genetically modified organisms” and related expressions

3.—(1) This Order has effect for the purpose of preventing or minimising any damage to the environment which may arise from the escape or release from human control of genetically modified organisms.

(2) In this Order the term “organism” means any acellular, unicellular or multicellular entity (in any form), other than humans or human embryos; and the term also includes any article or substance consisting of or including biological matter.

(3) For the purpose of paragraph (2) “biological matter” means anything (other than an entity mentioned in that paragraph) which consists of or includes—

(a)tissue or cells (including gametes or propagules) or subcellular entities, of any kind, capable of replication or of transferring genetic material, or

(b)genes or other genetic material, in any form, which are so capable,

and it is immaterial, in determining if something is or is not an organism or biological matter, whether it is the product of natural or artificial processes of reproduction and, in the case of biological matter, whether it has ever been part of a whole organism.

(4) For the purposes of this Order an organism is “genetically modified” if any of the genes or other genetic material in the organism—

(a)have been modified by means of an artificial technique prescribed in regulations by the Department; or

(b)are inherited or otherwise derived, through any number of replications, from genes or other genetic material (from any source) which were so modified.

(5) The techniques which may be prescribed for the purposes of paragraph (4) include—

(a)any technique for the modificat ion of any genes or other genetic material by the recombination, insertion or deletion of, or of any component parts of, that material from its previously occurring state, and

(b)any other technique for modifying genes or other genetic material which in the opinion of the Department would produce organisms which should for the purposes of this Order be treated as having been genetically modified,

but do not include techniques which involve no more than, or no more than the assistance of, naturally occurring processes of reproduction (including selective breeding techniques or in vitro fertilisation).

(6) It is immaterial for the purposes of paragraphs (4) and (5) whether the modifications of genes or other genetic material effected by a prescribed technique are produced by direct operations on that genetic material or are induced by indirect means (including in particular the use of viruses, microbial plasmids or other vector systems or of mutation inducing agents).

(7) In this Order, a reference to “reproduction”, in relation to an organism, includes a reference to its replication or its transferring genetic material.

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