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XX. International Congress of Genetics (ICG) in Berlin from July 12-17, 2008

The XX. International Congress of Genetics (ICG) will be held in Berlin from July 12-17, 2008. The International Genetics Federation (IGF) has elected the German Genetics Society (GfG) to organise the biggest and most influential forum in the field of genetics worldwide.

After more than 80 years this prestigious genetics world congress congregates in Germany again. The ICG has taken place once every five years in many major cities around the world. Next year, in the German capital of Berlin, more than 300 of the most renowned international geneticists will report on the latest insights in genomic research. The lectures on the up-to-date status of research in the field of genetics are expected eagerly by the experts.

In 2003, the Congress in Melbourne (Australia) celebrated the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick. The 2008 event in Berlin will now showcase the entire recent excitement derived from the new capabilities for rapid genome sequencing, genome-wide functional analyses, and associated computational genetics.

Congress President Prof. Rudi Balling, Scientific Director of the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research in Brunswick (Germany), stresses the comprehensive spectrum of the scientific program: 10 plenary lectures, 54 symposia and numerous satellite activities will review recent developments in functional genomics. The Congress will cover leading edge genetic insight from microbes to man.

Human genetics, including the evolution of man, will feature prominently in the scientific program. Biomedical translations, as well as applications in biotechnology and agriculture, will also be discussed in depth. Prof. Balling and the current GfG-President Prof. Alfred Nordheim also encourage scientists participating in the Congress to reflect on the impact of genetic research in today´s society.

Molecular genetic research established itself as one of the most powerful driving forces for scientific progress in the life sciences. Significant economic growth resulted from its use. Alfred Nordheim, professor at the University of Tübingen (Germany) and Secretary General of ICG 2008, is proud that the world Congress is to be held in Germany: "We look forward to having elite scientists visit Berlin from all over the world and we are aware of the historic significance for both the German and the international genetics research community. The German Genetics Society (GfG) expresses its gratitude for the opportunity to host the XX. International Congress of Genetics in 2008".

The history of the ICG is closely linked to William Bateson. The British scientist is the founder of the term "genetics" and also of the ICG. At the conference on hybridization of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) 1899 in London, Bateson claimed new emphasis on the study of discontinuous variations. Today, this statement is considered to be the leading paper for the establishment of the International Congress of Genetics. T. H. Morgan, who delineated the arrangement of genes alongside chromosomes of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, acted as Congress President in 1932 when the ICG was hosted in Ithaca (USA). Previously, in a historical announcement at the occasion of the 5th ICG in Berlin (1927), H. H. Muller presented the first evidence of X-ray mutagenesis.

The second announcement of the ICG 2008 (Berlin), which has now been released, provides a comprehensive overview of the scientific program, including the symposia topics, plenary lectures, names of attending chair people and speakers. In addition, useful details regarding registration, accommodation and ways of getting to and around Berlin are provided.

Michael Seifert | idw
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