German GM project stalled

In the wake of a law seen as a major blow for science, a major project's funding dries up

Ned Stafford(scientistnews@yahoo.com)
Jan 12, 2005

A German research project aimed at producing genetically modified (GM) potatoes with higher levels of an important carotenoid will likely be cancelled before completion because of what the study's leader calls the German government's negative attitude toward GM crop research.

Helmar Schubert, from the University of Karlsruhe's Institute of Food Process Engineering, told The Scientist the German research ministry has refused to provide additional funding needed to complete the 5-year project.

The group has succeeded in producing GM potatoes with 250 times more zeaxanthin than found in conventional potatoes, said Schubert. Past studies have indicated that higher dietary levels of zeaxanthin reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, a frequent cause of vision loss in the elderly.

Schubert said his group needs just one more year to finish the project, but "at the moment, we have no money to finish the project."

The project, which started in 1999, received...

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