Opinions of the SECB

The SECB's responsibilities include providing information about new scientific findings and about the need for further research in biotechnology and gene technology. The SECB considers current issues and publishes its opinions. In this way, it is ready for any requests from the Federal Administration and is able to advise the authorities in a timely manner.

Risk-related criteria to assess activities in the field of synthetic biology and its regulation, October 2018

For activities in the field of synthetic biology, the SECB recommends a case-specific risk assessment , focusing on the objective of protecing humans, animals and the environment. The SECB considers it important that all risk-related criteria be taken into account, and particularly an organism’s ability to multiply and disseminate.

SECB opinion on synthetic biology

SECB opinions on the handling of scientific findings with the potential of misuse, April 2015

Research with pathogenic organisms could be misused for criminal (bioterrorism) or military (bioweapons) purposes. In recent years there has been increasing discussion of such dual use research and the publication of research findings. The SECB has updated and amended its opinions. An unnecessary restriction of scientific research and medical advances should  be avoided.

SECB opinions on the handling of scientific findings with the potential of misuse

Evaluation of the safety of green gene technology

On 12 December 2012 the Council of States was the second chamber of Parliament to vote to extend the moratorium on gene technology for a further four years, until the end of 2017. The National Council had already made this decision on 26 September 2012. This means the commercial cultivation of genetically modified plants continues to be prohibited in Switzerland. The question of whether or not genetically modified plants are safe for humans, animals and the environment arises regularly. The Swiss Expert Committee for Biosafety concludes unanimously that the licensed genetically modified plants are safe.

Press release of 15 November 2012 (in German)

Background paper on green gene technology (in German)

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Last edition: 21.02.2019


Swiss Expert Committee for Biosafety (SECB)
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