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Checkbiotech: Merkel requests a stronger clarification on genetic engineering
Posted by: DR. RAUPP & madora (IP Logged)
Date: November 01, 2004 09:47AM ;

The CDU/CSU Fraction Chairperson of the German Parliament, Angela Merkel,
called on researchers and industry to strengthen their public relations
efforts regarding the benefits and risks of biotechnology and genetic
engineering. At the opening of a biotechnology symposium, supported by her
fraction on Monday in Berlin, Merkel said that the people?s fears must be
taken seriously, because the majority is based on ignorance.

?You cannot build a research-friendly atmosphere on fear,? cautioned Merkel.

?It is also essential to have Bioethicists in the discussion, who are ready
to open up to the scientific findings of this matter,? emphasized Merkel.
They need to lay the foundation for the assessment of what is responsible,
and what is not. When people notice that a topic is being seriously
discussed, concerning what one is capable of doing, and what one should be
allowed to do, then their fears will eventually subside, added Merkel.

?Biotechnology and genetic engineering belong to the sectors that will
decide, whether or not the standard of living of 80 million Germans can be
maintained,? said Merkel. ?At the present, this correlation is not being
sufficiently realized. It is important to promote research sectors. In
addition, the appropriate framework must be created.?

The CDU/CSU Fraction Head called on the German government to implement the
EU Biopatent guidelines as German law.

?This cannot develop in a way that allows government regulations to become
more complicated. Furthermore, the government must submit a law regarding
genetic diagnostics. An appropriate proposal from the CDU/CSU has been
submitted since 2001. Concerning the subject of genetic testing, there are
bound to be lively public debates that will take place. However, in the end
we will also come to terms with it. As anesthesia was invented, it too was a
cultural shock at first.?

Again Merkel criticized the legal liability tied with the cultivation of
genetically modified plants within agricultural. ?This must be resolved in
different way.? At the same time, she warned Industry to not allow itself to
become divided. ?The fear of green biotechnology is real, and I believe the
German economy is evading the issue. In the fight for better conditions for
green biotechnology one must stick together.?

Source: AP German Worldstream; Translation: Robert Derham, Checkbiotech

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