Monitoring the development of genetic engineering in Germany
Long-term – independent – across disciplines
The interdisciplinary Research Group Gene Technology Report is an initiative of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, a publicly funded research institution with a long tradition of supporting university research in Germany. The Institute has a strong focus on interdisciplinary studies, and aims to further the public understanding of the sciences and humanities.
Gene technology – or genetic engineering – is a branch of modern biotechnology. The term refers to laboratory techniques which allow researchers to manipulate an organism’s DNA and consequently alter the natural characteristics of microorganisms, plants and animals. Genetic engineering applications have become well established around the globe in many areas like medical diagnostics, forensic science, or agricultural production. However, the potential benefits and risks of genetic engineering have led to fierce debates among scientists, consumer organisations, policy-makers and industry bodies.
What is needed to enhance ongoing public debates is an impartial „observatory“ to monitor genetic engineering and its possible repercussions. The Gene Technology Report was established in 2001 to address these issues. Up to 2018 the Group was a long-term task of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. From 2019 to 2021 it is funded by the Friede Springer Foundation. Our aim is to analyse the state and development of genetic engineering in Germany and to provide transparent information for the public. We conduct our activities in a long-term, independent and interdisciplinary manner. The working structure consists of an expert network and research staff who are to establish a centre of expertise on current gene technology issues in Germany. The group documents its results in a series of mostly German publications that appear at regular intervals. They are accompanied by short summaries that are available in both English and German. The Group also stages numerous events like lectures, panel discussions or workshops.
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