Opponents of GM technology have expressed their anger after the New Zealand Environmental Risk Management Authority approved a research experiment that involves inserting human genes into cows.

The process, which it is hoped will produce milk proteins for the treatment of strokes and multiple sclerosis, involves the insertion of genes from goats, pigs, sheep, mice and humans into cattle to create genetically modified embryos. Transgenic calves will then be created by transferring the GM embryos into normal cows.

The research tests, conducted by a state-owned laboratory called Agresearch, will have to be carried out behind two rows of high fences and no animals or milk will be permitted to ever leave the site.

The Green party and the lobby group GE Free New Zealand were amongst those who attacked the proposed research tests because they believe the risks of GM organisms entering the food chain are too great, reported the Financial Times.