German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Agro-Genetic Engineering and Nature Conservation

In 1995, genetically modified canola was first commercially grown in Canada. The following year saw the commercial use of transgenic soya in the USA. In the meantime, transgenic soya, maize, cotton and rapeseed varieties are being grown on approximately 180 million hectares (status 2015) of agricultural land worldwide. The main growing areas are the USA, Canada, Argentina and China.

Transgenic Bt maize MON810 is the first GMO to be commercially produced in the EU since 1998. A prerequisite for the cultivation of transgenic plants is a genetic engineering licence for cultivation as well as food and feed. In addition, GM crops, like all new varieties, also required approval under the Seeds Act for commercial cultivation.

In Germany transgenic maize MON810 was cultivated from 2005 - 2008. However, the cultivation of maize MON810 has been banned in Germany since 2009. Since the approval for the GM potato "Amfora" has also been cancelled in 2011, no GMO cultivation has taken place in Germany since 2012 (see GMO cultivation in Germany and the EU). However, more than 70 GM varieties are approved for import and processing in the EU (status 2016). Imported GM crops are mainly used in animal feed. 

Along with GenTG, the legal basis for approval of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is provided by EU legislation like the Deliberate Release Directive (2001/18/EC), the GMO Food and Feed Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 1829/2003) and Regulation (EC) No. 1830/2003 concerning the traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms.

Legal Framework

The work performed by BfN in connection with the necessary approval procedures largely focuses on environmental risk assessments to research the altered traits of transgenic crops released in experimental trails and evaluation of the monitoring plans contained in applications for marketing approval.

Environmental Risk Assessment and Monitoring

Die Entwicklung neuer Gentechniken stellt die Risikobewertung vor neue Herausforderungen.

zu CRISPR-Cas und Genome Editing

English BfN publications and other publications on this subject.


Further information

Completed R&D projects

Last Change: 31/07/2018