Graphic: Erica P. Johnson
German plant biotechnology companies, frustrated by a European moratorium and lacking political and public support in their home country, struggle to sustain their re-search. Many still hope that genetically modified (GM) plant products will eventually find their way to the market. Some officials even believe that green gene technology, as plant genetics are sometimes called, could become a cornerstone in the recovery of the eastern German economy.
Basic academic research into plant biotechnology thrives in Germany. "There are many research institutes conducting basic research in the field--not only at universities, but also at other centers of excellence such as Max Planck Institutes [MPIs] or Leibniz Institutes," says Hans-Ulrich Koop at the University of Munich.
To bundle national research activities, the plant genome initiative, Genome Analysis of the Plant Biological System (GABI), was started in 1999. Supported by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and...