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GM crops: Germany follows Scotland’s lead, opts out of EU approvals

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Following Scotland’s footsteps, Germany has decided to ban use of all kinds of genetically modified (GM) crops.

With the passage of the new rules, individual member states would now be allowed to block farmers from using GM organisms, even if the variety has been accepted on an EU-wide basis.

In a letter seen by the Reuters news agency, Christian Schmidt, Germany’s agriculture minister, said that the country will persist with its previously announced ban on all GM crops.

The EU countries have until 3 October 2015 to inform if they wish to opt out of the bloc-wide approvals.

Scotland’s SNP hailed Germany’s company in the move. “Like Scotland, the German Government recognises the importance of protecting its food and drink sector and keeping its environment clean and green,” said SNP’s Rob Gibson.

In government, the SNP has ensured that Scotland is at the forefront of environmental protection – legislating for world-leading climate change targets, significantly increasing renewable generation and placing a moratorium on fracking. The German decision shows that Scotland is now also leading Europe on GM crops,” the SNP leader further added.

The move by Germany comes despite overwhelming scientific evidence that improving crops by molecular biotechnology techniques is safe, and the practice is widespread across the Americas and Asia.

Scotland became the first country to opt out of bloc-wide GM licence, a move it said was needed to preserve the country’s “clean and green brand”.

The move by Germany and Scotland to ban GM crops brings out the rift caused by divided opinions on their efficacy in Europe.

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India And Germany Collaborate For Research in Biological Applications

"The topics of this research training group are highly relevant for developing the biotechnology industry in both countries," Michael J. Winckler, Programme Coordinator at Heidelberg, said in a statement. 

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The six institutes -- Indian Institutes of Technology at Guwahati, Kanpur and Madras, University of Allahabad, University of Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University -- will partner with Germany's Heidelberg University, and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry of Science and Technology. Pixabay

In a bid to promote the use of big data methods in biological applications, six Indian institutes of higher education on Wednesday established the first joint Indo-German research training group (RTG).

The six institutes — Indian Institutes of Technology at Guwahati, Kanpur and Madras, University of Allahabad, University of Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University — will partner with Germany’s Heidelberg University, and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

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The first funding of the programme will be between 2019 and 2025 with an investment of three million euros each from Heidelberg and DBT, the statement said. Pixabay

The programme aims at setting up as many as 50 Ph.D. projects, on “Bio Big Data Science”, which will be supervised by research teams consisting of leading Indian and German scientists.

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“The topics of this research training group are highly relevant for developing the biotechnology industry in both countries,” Michael J. Winckler, Programme Coordinator at Heidelberg, said in a statement.

The first funding of the programme will be between 2019 and 2025 with an investment of three million euros each from Heidelberg and DBT, the statement said. (IANS)