Biotech Updates

German Court Sentences Anti-GMO Activists for Destroying Wheat Field

June 26, 2009

A group of anti-GMO activists who destroyed a field trial of genetically modified (GM) wheat in the German village of Gatersleben was sentenced last week by a court in Saxony-Anhalt. The court ruled that the group acted against the law on April 21, 2008 as they entered the field trial area maintained by the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research. The anti-GMO group was asked to pay for the damage, which the Institute estimated at not less than 245,000 euros (342,000 USD).

According to the report by GMO Compass, the activists objected to the field trial because of its proximity to the Gatersleben gene bank. They cited the German legal concept of √ľbergesetzlicher Notstand ("extra-statutory necessity") as a justification for the destruction.

Wheat plants are self-pollinating with outcrossing rates estimated at less than 1 percent. The field trial was separated from the Genebank's propagation lots by 500 meters.

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