- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
Swiss to Keep Transgenic Research
8 June 1998 7:00 pm
BERN--Swiss voters yesterday overwhelmingly rejected a nationwide referendum that would have banned research on transgenic animals as well as patents on genetically modified organisms. The decisive defeat of the so-called "Gene Protection Initiative" is expected to give a boost to Swiss research, prevent an exodus of Swiss molecular biologists, and spur greater investment in the nation's biotech industry.
"This is great news for young scientists in Switzerland," says immunologist Hans Hengartner, who codirects the University of Zurich's Institute for Experimental Immunology. With two-thirds of the voters rejecting the initiative, the drubbing shows that "Swiss people did not respond well to the 'scare tactics' used by the initiative's sponsors," says Hengartner. "In the end, what counted the most was objective information."
Sunday's vote ended an energetic campaign by Swiss biologists to convince the public that transgenic laboratory animals are essential to biomedical research, and that genetic engineering can provide benefits without posing a serious threat to the environment. Last month, 3000 scientists and supporters marched through the streets of Zurich; four of Switzerland's five living Nobel Prize winners held a news conference to oppose the initiative; and scientists wrote newspaper columns and appeared at public forums across the country to explain the nature of transgenic research.
Proponents of the gene protection initiative--a diverse coalition of environmental, animal-rights, and political groups that collected 111,000 signatures to bring the proposal to a vote--say their fight isn't over. "We will discuss a new initiative," says Florianne Koechlin, a coalition leader. While supporters were disappointed in the decisive vote, Koechlin says they were pleased that the initiative at least "sparked a wide discussion" on bioethics.