Biological Safety Research
Genetically modified plants are not only cultivated and monitored under laboratory conditions, but under outdoor conditions as well. Increasing our knowledge of the behaviour of genetically modified plants and monitoring the impact of their applications are a must for the responsible utilization of this new technology. None of the research projects funded by the BMBF have found any scientific evidence of negative ecological effects caused by the genetically modified plants under examination.
Developments in biological and genetic engineering, particularly the new applications in agriculture and the food industry, for many years been a controversial topic in the general public. Questions concerning the impact on both humans and the environment are raised time and again. Accompanying biological safety research is to clarify such scientifically grounded questions.
The Federal Government has supported research projects on question of biological safety since the late 1980s. As of 2013, the BMBF has funded more than 300 projects, 120 of them on the safety of genetically modified plants. Altogether, more than 60 universities and non-university research institutions been involved in these research projects.
Funding has been provided to projects to develop methods for the optimization of biological safety of genetically modified plants and to examine the impact of the release of genetically modified plants in Germany. This research has focussed on crops such as rape-seed, potatoes, plants and selected woody plants. The purpose of the projects is to study hypotheses on the connections between genetic modification and environmental impact. Further support is being provided for the development of methods for monitoring accompanying cultivation.
On 30 March 2011 (www.gmo-safety.eu/news/1311.biosafety-research-genetically-modified-crops-html)
the results of the last funding period from 2008 to 2011 were presented to over 150 participants from academia, politics, industry, private sector industry bodies, the media, and the interested public. The researchers concluded that the projects have so far given no indication of any negative ecological impact caused by the genetically modified plants examined.
Further information about the projects and their results can be found on the GMO Safety webpage (http://www.gmo-safety.eu/)