Ignorance leads to fear

"Ignorance leads to panic"

The Doppelkopp monster - not a product of genetic engineering!

Francis Lauenau

February 28, 2011

Silke Mreyen on the opportunities and risks of biotechnology - 03/11

trailer: Ms. Mreyen, where do ordinary people already encounter biotechnology products today?
Silke Mreyen: The question should be: where do ordinary people not come across these products? Classic biotechnological products have been around for thousands of years. Think of wine and beer or the processing of dairy products by yeast. So biotechnology is nothing new or uncanny that suddenly threatens us.

How will biotechnology change our lives in the next few years?
The use of enzymes, for example, has revolutionized laundry washing. This is a great benefit for the environment because the amount of detergent used is much less. And energy can be saved because the temperature can be lower. In the future, diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, liver disease, multiple sclerosis and cardiovascular diseases will also be diagnosed earlier. This increases the chances of recovery. Medicine is being personalized, so to speak. This enables diseases to be detected earlier, side effects avoided and costs reduced.

How do you explain the fear of your opponents?

Of course, progress can also involve risks. However, it is important to differentiate what information I have and what conclusions I draw from it. If I eat an apple, I won't turn green, even though it has the appropriate gene in it. Ignorance often leads to false panic.

How important is the Ruhr area in biotechnology?
Biotechnology in the Ruhr has developed into one of the outstanding industries. With regard to the approximately 500 companies active in biotechnology, there is a clear focus on medicine. The Technologie Park Dortmund with the BioMedizinZentrum Dortmund enjoys an international reputation. With the BioMedizinZentrum Bochum, further opportunities have been created for start-up companies. There are already numerous inquiries from Europe and Asia.


Dr. Silke Mreyen, (39) is the managing director of BioIndustry e.V. in Dortmund.

Interview: Lutz Debus

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