The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) sees the draft amendment to the Genetic Engineering Act as a restriction on innovation and research in Germany. If the amendment were to be passed in its current form it runs the risk, in the opinion of the DFG, of putting German researchers at a considerable disadvantage on the international playing field. This is the key theme of the statement on the law on genetic engineering recently released by the DFG.
The DFG primarily opposes three aspects of the draft amendment. For instance, the draft put forward by the German federal government assumes that a particular risk is automatically attached to the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In the opinion of the DFG this assumption is not backed up by experimental data.
The inappropriate risk assessment leads to increased red tape and hampers the transfer of the findings of basic research to economically viable processes and products. The draft amendment also intends to hold users of genetically modified organisms responsible for "intrusion" by GMOs into conventionally or ecologically produced seed. However, it is not possible in principle to prevent such cross breeding of genetically modified organisms. If the liability proposed in the amendment is enforced, research involving genetically modified organisms or their release will barely be possible in Germany any longer.
Thirdly, the DFG is against the planned splitting of the Central Commission for Biological Safety into two committees and the inclusion of members who do not have relevant technical expertise. The DFG does not perceive a need for new boards, new bureaucratic regulations or additional authorities.
The envisaged establishment of a federal register for recording the location of GMOs and registers for each of the 16 st
Contact: Prof. Dr. Jrg Hacker