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Forum

The human genome: public not private, global not national

Michael Kirby

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Abstract

The Salzburg Seminar, established in 1947, provides an ongoing forum for international dialogue on contemporary issues of global concern. The Hon. Justice Kirby reports on the seminar that led to the Salzburg Statement on Biotechnology (19 July 2000) and argues that in the matter of human genetics, as for the internet and nuclear non-proliferation, no country can go it alone – nothing less than a global approach to genetic issues will suffice.

Article Extract

The setting magnificent

Picture the scene: one of the most beautiful natural settings on earth today; a palace, Schloss Leopoldskron, at the foot of the mountains at Salzburg in Austria – in the distance, the Bavarian Alps. Bus tours circle the lake in front of the palace, for this is where Mozart’s patron lived and where, more recently, The Sound of Music was filmed. Inside the palace, serious debate is taking place on some of the most important and urgent problems facing humanity – surrounded by gilt and marble, we were discussing the issues presented by human genomic research.

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