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Checkbiotech: New hopes for genetic engineering in Europe
Posted by: DR. RAUPP ; madora (IP Logged)
Date: July 02, 2005 09:38AM ; ;

The chance of a change in government in Berlin may allow the seeds and
agrochemical businesses to breathe freely again, July 2005 by Siegfried
translated by Fabiana Rotundo, Checkbiotech.

Its hopes rest on an election victory for the CDU and FDP, which would
possible to drastically improve the outlook for the so called, green genetic
engineering. Both parties are regarded as advocates in this field of

?Clearly, it would be a change for the positive, which might spread out also
on the European level?, said Heinz Müller, an agricultural expert of the

Representatives of the seeds-industry assume that a CDU/FDP-government would
revise some of the particularly restrictive laws regarding genetic
engineering. Furthermore, they see the chance that the issue will in the
future be discussed in a more factually relevant and less ideological level.
?With respect to consumer acceptance, this means important progress?,
according to Georg Folttmann, spokesperson of the leading, German seed
company KWS.

Seeds industry wants more liberty in cultivation

Green biotechnology aims to improve the quality of useful plants in doing
purposeful, restricted genetic modifications. Such genetically modified
plants, including rapeseed and corn, which are resistant to herbicides or
pests, have been cultivated in America on a large scale for many years.

In contrast, in Europe the advancement was never able to gain a foothold,
due to restrictions on admissions and a lack of acceptance by consumers. The
situation in Germany makes things particularly difficult, as the new law on
genetic engineering has been tightened during the last year.

Above all, its liability regulations for the cultivation of genetically
engineered varieties seem to be ? as the seed trade unions see it ? a
prohibition. Further regulations are angrily criticized, which dictate that
the slightest genetic transfer from research plants would render
conventional seeds unfit for sale.

The number of field tests has decreased by two thirds in the EU, as well as
in Germany, since the end of the 90?s. ?This development on the other hand,
would possibly endanger the so far strong basic research in this field in
the mid-term, fears Hans Knast, chief of BASF Plant Science.

A change in Berlin is likely to have a positive impact on the European
level, according to the assessment of several experts. ?As far as genetic
engineering is concerned, many other countries primarily look to Germany?,
says DIB manager Ricardo Gent.


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