German Greens’ anti-GMO consensus may ‘shatter’ as 160 scientists urge party to endorse crop gene editing

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"Ohne-Gentechnik" translates to "without GMO" in English.

The carefully organized unity of the Greens [on genetic engineering] is breaking up. The party threatens to relapse into a fundamental opposition to the technology. Now professors and researchers are joining the debate – and warning the Greens of “fake news.”

The federal executive board of the Greens apparently saw this conflict coming and decided in favor of a compromise formulation in the draft of the basic program. Research in new genetic engineering should be strengthened as well as alternative approaches that rely on traditional breeding methods. Risk research is also needed in genetic engineering. If this passage is passed, the anti-genetic engineering phase of the party would be history.

But whether the delegates see it that way is by no means certain …. [P]arty leader Robert Habeck tried …. to bury the dispute and get the various positions under one roof. But that failed.

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The opponents insisted on the concept of “genetic engineering freedom.” Now there are three motions in the room: One that rejects genetic engineering, then the compromise proposal of the federal executive committee and another which pleads for a modern, science-driven view of genetic engineering.

On [Nov. 18], 48 hours before the opening of the party congress, more than 150 scientists joined the debate on genetically modified plant breeding methods – genome editing – with an open letter to the Greens …. It was signed by 60 professors and another 100 scientists and is addressed directly to the delegates.

[Editor’s note: This article was published in German and has been translated and edited for clarity.]

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