Red tape loosened

Published: Wednesday 15 December 1993

NEW RULES for approving experiments with altered genes will slash the red tape that British scientists claim obstructs research (New Scientist, Vol 140, No 1895). A report by the British parliament's science and technology committee says British and European laws governing genetically altered organisms are "excessively precautionary", "obsolescent" and "unscientific" and are disadvantageous compared to the US and Japan. A department of environment official stressed the new laws will not weaken the approval process.

Meanwhile, a confidential report to the German parliament disputes the notion that European laws are more burdensome than those of Japan and the US. It says excessive regulation is not driving biotechnology companies out of Germany, contradicting the industry's central argument for a relaxation of laws on altered genes.

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