Danes Ban Genetic Release

COPENHAGEN-The release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment us now against the law in Denmark. The Law on Gene Technology and Environment, passed this summer, is unique among actions taken by other countries in its being an Act of Parliament. here, rules concerning recombinant DNA research are only advisory. The Minister for Environment has the authority to approve deliberate release of such organisms "in special cases"

November 17, 1986

COPENHAGEN-The release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment us now against the law in Denmark.

The Law on Gene Technology and Environment, passed this summer, is unique among actions taken by other countries in its being an Act of Parliament. here, rules concerning recombinant DNA research are only advisory.

The Minister for Environment has the authority to approve deliberate release of such organisms "in special cases" as defined by the law. The minister also must approve the discard of waste water with gene-spliced or cell-fused organisms from production facilities. The law, in effect, requires biotechnology firms to meet the same criteria as heavily polluting industries.

"We are happy that a law was passed," said Jesper Toft of NOAH, the most influential environmental group in the country, "but it remains to be seen how effective it will be."

Research and development are not regulated by the law. But registration of experiments that utilize gene technology will be made compulsory through occupational health legislation, and labs will have to be approved.

The border between scientific re search and scaling-up for production is unclear in the law. "Until we know the border," said Niels Gram of the Federation of Danish Industries, "we do not know how restrictive the law will become."

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