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Gene technology – or genetic engineering – is a branch of modern biotechnology. The term refers to laboratory techniques that 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 organizations, 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 – Monitoring and Interdisciplinary Dialog“ was established in 2001 to address these issues. The Group was a long-term task of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. From 2019 to 2021 it was funded by the Friede Springer Foundation and since 2022 it is based at the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) at Charité. Our aim is to analyze 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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