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Genetic engineering should not be banned: German expert

Xinhua, May 6, 2015 Adjust font size:

Genetic engineering was proven to be safe and was necessary for future plant breeding, thus should not be banned, said a German expert in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Germany is one of the European countries considering to generally prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified crops within its border due to pressure from the public.

"As a scientist I am against restriction of basic GM research in life science," said Dr. Ralf Einspanier, an expert on genetic engineering from Freie Universitaet of Berlin.

"Political and public opinions often hampered industry developments and market placements of GM products in the past," he said.

Since 2013, no genetically modified crops is cultivated either commercially or experimentally in Germany. In the market, GM food, which has to be labeled, could seldom be found.

According to Einspanier, commercialized GM food and feed were proven to be safe as no adverse effects on health was found in previous research. GM technology could remarkably accelerate the development of "necessary and better crops" suited for a changing environment.

Earlier this year, leading scientific institutes in Germany issued a joint statement, warning against the possible national ban on cultivation of GM plants.

Scientists from the German National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Science and Engineering, and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities argued that GM crops could increase yields, reduce the use of insecticides and increase farmers' income. A general ban on cultivation of GM plants would hurt Germany's scientific research and industrial development.

"In the past German researchers had significant impact on the development of such new technologies in R&D. Such basic scientific activities are still of general interest and must be further promoted," Einspanier said. Endit