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Law 'may stifle German science'

Research group says GM law, applauded by environmentalists, will trigger scientific exodus

Ned Stafford(scientistnews@yahoo.com )

A new law passed by Germany's parliament that strictly regulates genetically modified (GM) crops will almost certainly stifle innovation and trigger an exodus of GM scientific research from Germany, according to a top official of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The new legislation comes after a spring planting season filled with increasingly public—and contentious—skirmishes between Germany's robust environmental movement and frustrated scientists over the issue of GM crops. The new law had the strong support of German Agriculture Minister Renate Kuenast, a member of the environmentally friendly Green Party, which is the junior governing coalition partner of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's SPD Party.

Kuenast described passage of the bill as a success for consumer protection and the rights of non-GM farmers who fear crop contamination from adjacent GM fields.

Jörg Hinrich Hacker, vice president of the DFG, told The Scientist that particularly worrisome for researchers are sections of the new...

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