Germany needs a national genome initiative

DFG releases statement on perspectives of genome research

The presidency of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) has now passed a statement Perspectives of Genome Research, thus taking the initiative in favour of a united effort of science and state in the interest of genome research in Germany. The publication demonstrates the inherent scientific and economical potential of genome research. It also points out how this has created a broad basis for promoting and utilising gene technologies in other countries and the sort of measures that must be taken in Germany to stand ground against international competition.

Genome research is synonymous with efforts to decipher information about genetic traits of all living organisms, which are stored in their genomes, and to understand how this information controls life processes. Genome technology does not only provide a novel basis for biology but also will create novel technologies which will revolutionise entire sectors of the economy. These will include lines of business such as drug and food industry but also environmental technology. Medicine in particular is thought to profit from these advances; it will be possible to clarify and diagnose molecular causes of diseases much faster and to develop novel target-oriented therapeutical concepts, drugs, and vaccines.

These developments will introduce a shift in the competitiveness of companies and industrial nations with profits being made by means of novel products only in those countries that will be able to master these technologies and to provide a home for appropriate companies. The innovative potential of genetic engineering will also create a novel category of work environment.

The US have realised the potentials and, through public and private funding, are investing currently approximately 1 billion dollars in genome research . Even at this stage novel drugs and goods developed and produced in the US with a market value of 2 bill

Contact: Dr. Pia Teufel
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

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