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Dialogue with the public

You are the Chairman of the 17th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Human Genetics from 8 to 11 March 2006. What is a human geneticist?
Human genetics is a field of medicine that has a bridge function to the basic fields of biomedicine and all clinical disciplines. Human genetics researches the genetic causes of diseases and dispositions for diseases.

What topic will be of concern?
The meeting agenda will deal with clinical issues on the hereditary nature of skin diseases, deafness and other nervous diseases as well as with the genetic causes of cancer and other widespread diseases and the structure of our genetic information and its repair systems as well as the impact of environmental factors on our genetic programme.

Why do you meet in the Chemistry Institute and Kirchhoff Institute for Physics of Heidelberg University?
By meeting there we want to emphasise our ties with Heidelberg University. But actually we made a virtue out of necessity, as the city of Heidelberg unfortunately has no suitable convention centre. It would be important to put that right in one of Germany's major urban regions in the field of biomedicine.

Why does the lecture on "The Future of Industrial Germany in Our Children" is addressing the public?
Human genetics lives not only on the interdisciplinary co-operation with other scientists but the dialogue with the public. Traditionally self-help groups and patient associations have always been integrated in our annual meetings. Topics like the predictability of diseases that only occur later in life, prenatal diagnostics and care of the disabled are important for everybody. With Paul Kirchhoff we have won one of the most brilliant and best-known professors of our university for a public lecture on a very up-to-date social topic.

And is this offer well-accepted?
In view of the registrations we already have and the response so far, I'm quite optimistic.

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