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Showing posts from January 30, 2011

DIYBio and biotinkering - Laws and regulations in Germany

A few days ago, I was reading a book on working with cell cultures, which includes an overview of the legal requirements for working with GMOs in a lab. This was a bit of a smack on the head for me - I had never thought of that before. With all that talk and all the recent articles hyping garage biology (often meaning garage genetic engineering), I had never come across a discussion of the legal situation. How could I have missed that?

So I looked into the matter, talked to people on the DIYBio mailing list, and it turns out that opening up a biohacking space in Germany as an autodidact is somewhat tricky. The following is a summary of the legal situation in Germany (though bear in mind that I'm no legal expert).

Genetic engineering is regulated through the Gentechnikgesetz (GenTG) and the Gentechniksicherheitsverordnung (GenTSV). Any work that inserts synthetic DNA into an organism falls under this law. To do that kind of work, you have to register a lab. This lab has to fulfill ce…