BASF moves GM crop research to US

  • An Erratum to this article was published on 07 June 2012

BASF Plant Science is relocating from its European headquarters to the US, a move prompted by the European public's hostility to genetically modified (GM) crops, its president Peter Eckes said. The German company is also cancelling the development and commercialization of all projects destined solely for the European market and in future will concentrate on markets in America and Asia. “The political and regulatory climate in Europe is unwelcoming at this moment—this is a political failure,” says Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, director of advocacy group EuropaBio in Brussels. In 2010, the European Commission approved BASF's Amflora, a potato genetically modified to produce pure amylopectin starch for industrial purposes. The road to approval took 13 years, during which the company had to deal with protestors and sabotage to test sites in Germany. BASF will continue the regulatory process for three breeds of potato already in the European pipeline but will halt work on a wheat variety resistant to fungal disease. Despite moving its Limburgerhof headquarters in Germany, BASF is not pulling out of Europe completely and will retain offices in Ghent, Belgium, and in Berlin. Another GM crop developer, Bayer CropScience of Monheim, Germany, has no plans to leave Europe and will retain an active research program in Ghent. Julian Little, Bayer's UK spokesperson in Cambridge, says that Europe “remains an excellent place to do research but commercialization of such technology in Europe remains problematic.”

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  • 07 June 2012

    In the version of this article initially published, BASF's Amflora, a genetically modified potato for industrial use, was mistakenly said to be blight resistant when it is not. The error has been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.

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Laursen, L. BASF moves GM crop research to US. Nat Biotechnol 30, 204 (2012).

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