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swiss-list: "Genschutz-Initiative"

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swiss-list: "Genschutz-Initiative"

From: Brigitte Ganter <click for textversion of email address >
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 16:00:04 +0100
Status: RO

Hello everybody,

as you all know, on June 7th the Swiss population will vote on an
initiative on "Genetic protection" ("Genschutz-Initiative" or Initiative
dite "pour la protection genetique). Acceptance would have disastrous
consequences for the future of biomedical research (prohibition of work
with transgenic
animals as well as it would render research with molecular genetic
techniques extremely difficult) in Switzerland. I don't want to elaborate
on the consequences, but since it is in no way sure that the initiative
will be rejected, we have to take an active role.

Most of us are here with a fellowship from the Swiss National Foundation
(at least in biomedical research). In other words we are funded by Swiss
tax money. We are here to get trained in our field of speciality at a good
school / institution abroad in order to hopefully be able to go back and
establish ourselves in basic research at a Swiss University. One of the
major problems is that if the initiative is going to be accepted, not only
will it be close to impossible for some of us to go back and do what we are
trained in, but also there might be a general consequence on how future
Post-doctoral fellowships will be funded (if at all!). Of course, nobody
has an interest in supporting young scientist to go abroad with Swiss tax
money to get trained in a field that they are prohibited to work in back in
Switzerland. Several of us in biomedical science here in the Bay Area
agree that we should do something about this upcoming important vote.

To make a long story short, I have initiated a couple of contacts with
newspapers in Switzerland. "Blick" is going to have a round-table
discussion with several people from both sides (Prof. Zinkernagel is one
of the people who will be there). The moderator of the discussion asked me
to furnish more details so that he can include this important aspect of the
"Genschutz-Initiative" in the discussion and provide specific cases. He
asked me to provide him with names of affected individuals / scientists
abroad including their affiliation and a short description of how their
research work
would be affected if the initiative is accepted by the Swiss people. Since
there might be a follow up article we should include as many names / cases
as possible.

We are a Swiss community here in the Bay Area, we should do something here
and now together. It is our responsibility to inform the public about
modern (molecular genetics) biomedical research.

Please let me know if you are interested in participating and willing to
provide your name, field of research and a short description of the effects
of the outcome of the "Genschutz-Initiative" in your particular case.
Personally I am convinced that given the high percentage of people in
Switzerland still undecided in this matter we can - by making ourselves
heard - make a difference, a difference that could ultimately turn out to
be crucial for our own very careers.

Send me a note if you are willing to support this cause and contribute by
providing your name, affiliation and research field.

I look forward to hearing from you, Brigitte

Brigitte Ganter Ph.D.
Department of Pathology
School of Medicine
300 Pasteur Drive
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94035-5324

e-mail: bganter_at_cmgm.stanford.edu
phone: (650) 723-1621
fax: (650) 725-6902

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Received on Fri May 08 1998 - 15:58:34 PDT

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