The Forum for Genetic Research was created in 1996 by the Swiss Academy of Sciences (called SCNAT since 2004) with the aim to contribute to the public debate launched by « Gene protection initiative », which was voted on in june 1998. The Forum then received the mission to provide scientific information – as objectively and finely nuanced as possibly – and as plate-form for discussion.
Until today, the activities of the Forum have evolved in the rhythm of its five presidencies – each characterized by specific directions and priorities, determined by developments in genetic research and their implications at a scientific, social, educational, political, legal and ethical level.
The five presidencies and their priorities could be summarized as follows :
- Martine Jotterand (January 1996 - July 1999):
perception, implications for society and ethics, dialogue between biological sciences and humanities
- Daniel Schümperli (August 1999 - February 2004):
risks, safetty, legislation, proposal for a national research project
- Sandro Rusconi (Marc 2004 - March 2009):
patentability, synthetic biology, biofarming, natural/artificial
- Patrick Matthias (April 2009 - December 2020):
gene technologies in agriculture, synthetic biology, « dual use » in biological research, genome editing, personalized health
- Alexandre Reymond (since January 2021)