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Preimplantation Genetic Diagnostics

In light of the German Federal Court of Justice’s ruling on the Embryo Protection Act of 2010, the Leopoldina, in its capacity as the National Academy of Sciences, saw it as its task to discuss the legal regulation and possible restriction of the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis from a scientific perspective and issue a statement on this controversial issue. A working group comprised of experts from the relevant fields was established in November 2010 and released its statement in January 2011.

In preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), embryos are screened for genetic conditions before implantation in the uterus to enable parents at high risk of having a child with a serious genetic disease or a pregnancy ending in miscarriage or stillbirth due to genetic defects to improve their chances of having healthy children. PGD had been regarded as illegal in Germany under the country’s Embryo Protection Act until 6 July 2010, when the German Federal Court of Justice ruled that PGD is not explicitly prohibited in the Act and is thus legal. As the legislative body, the German Bundestag was asked to draft a bill that would provide a legal framework regulating the use of PGD.


  • National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW) (for the Union of German Academies of Sciences)
  • German Academy of Science and Engineering acatech

Spokespersons of the Working Group

  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Zenner ML (Member of the Leopoldina Presidium, Spokesperson of the Standing Committee Science and Ethics of the Leopoldina)
    Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen
  • Prof. Dr. Philipp U. Heitz ML (Member of the Leopoldina Presidium, Spokesperson of the Standing Committee Science and Ethics of the Leopoldina)
    Universität Zürich

Members of the Working Group

Reproduction Biology, -Medicine and Gynecology

  • Prof. em. Dr. Dr. Henning M. Beier ML
    Universitätsklinikum  RWTH Aachen
  • Prof. Dr. Klaus Diedrich ML
    Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein Lübeck
  • Prof. Dr. em. Hermann Hepp ML
    Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Human Genetics

  • Prof. Dr. Claus R. Bartram ML
    Universität Heidelberg
  • Prof. Dr. Peter Propping ML (Member of the Presidium of the Leopoldina)
    Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

Developmental Biology and General Genetics

  • Prof. Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard ML (Member of the Standing Committee Science and Ethics of the Leopoldina)
    Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie Tübingen
  • Prof. Dr. Anna M. Wobus ML
    Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung IPK, Gatersleben

Philosophy and Ethics

  • Prof. Dr. Otfried Höffe ML
    Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen
  • Prof. Dr. Bettina Schöne-Seifert ML
    Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster


  • Prof. Dr. Jochen Taupitz ML
    Universität Mannheim
  • Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Wolfrum ML
    Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht, Heidelberg

ML = Member of the Leopoldina



Elmar König

Head of Department Science – Policy – Society, Head of Berlin Office

Phone 030 203 8997 - 460
Fax 030 203 8997 - 409
E-Mail elmar.koenig @leopoldina.org



Dr. Kathrin Happe

Scientific officer, Deputy Head of Department Science – Policy – Society

E-Mail politikberatung @leopoldina.org