Germany's two national legislative bodies were at loggerheads over genetically modified (GM) plant legislation yesterday (September 22) after an arbitration panel that is supposed to conciliate between the Parliament and Bundesrat failed to reach a consensus.

On July 9, the representatives of Germany's 16 provinces in the Bundesrat—dominated by the Christian Democrat party—defeated a bill that had been approved by the Parliament (Bundestag), where Social Democrat (SPD) and Green parties hold the majority.

The arbitration panel is supposed to mediate between Bundestag and Bundesrat, but "the talks there are still extremely emotionally charged," Wolf-Dieter Glatzel, who represents the SPD faction in the panel, told The Scientist. Each party accuses the other of irrationality, as they struggle to draft a law that will allow commercial use of plant biotechnology while being acceptable to opponents of the technology.

Originally, the federal government was supposed to implement EU guidelines for releasing GM...

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