GM law 'a blow for science'

German researchers and industry decry a new crop law as being detrimental to innovation

Ned Stafford(
Nov 30, 2004

The final passage of a highly restrictive genetically modified (GM) crops law is being hailed as a major victory by German Agriculture Minister Renate Künast, but the bioscience community and biotech sector see the new legislation as a blow to German science and industry.

Among the most controversial aspects of the new law are clauses holding planters of GM crops liable for economic damages to adjacent non-GM fields even if they followed planting instructions and other regulations. Opponents say this will create a financial risk some German universities, research organizations, and companies will not take.

Mark Stitt, managing director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, told The Scientist: "I think the law, as it now stands, is going to have a very detrimental effect on innovation in Germany."

"Germany has potentially one of the most flourishing bioscience industries in the world," Stitt said. "But now,...