06.05.2014

Victor Penchaszadeh was declared distinguished personality of science

So was declared the medical geneticist by the Buenos Aires Legislature. Dr. El Dr. Penchaszadeh played a central role in the creation of the National DNA Data Bank (BNDG).

Victor Penchaszadeh was declared distinguished personality of science.

Mario Testa, Estela de Carlotto, Víctor Penchaszadeh, Gabriela Alegre and Mario Rovere (from left to right).

At a ceremony held in the Hall of St. Martin at the city of Buenos Aires Legislature, the distinguished geneticist, Víctor Penchaszadeh was recognized as prominent personality of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires in the field of science. The event was attended by the lawmaker who chairs the block of the Front for Victory, Gabriela Alegre, who drafted together with the Deputy Juan Cabandié the Law 4.731 which led to the tribute.

Penchaszadeh welcomed the distinction and stated that "the identity of people is much more than the genetic identity.We have a biological, cultural, familiar, historical, political, linguistic identity and is not reducible to a DNA sequence. Identity is a complex phenomenon, it is not just the genome”. He also referred to the genetics associated with the promotion of racism and its negative connotation and said that "the rate of grandparenthood helped genetic to redeem from a shameful past". He thanked all those who helped in the research that led to the discovery of such index.

The president of the Argentine Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, Estela de Carlotto thanked Penchaszadeh for his cooperation in the recovery of stolen identities of children during the last military dictatorship "on behalf of the Grandmothers and of the 113 grandchildren recovered”. In turn, the deputy Alegre said that "one of the priorities of this government is undoubtedly science, promote the contribution that science and technology can do to build a better society. This is related to ethics and with modifying more complex things in the lives of all inhabitants”.

The dean of the Department of Health Sciences of the University of La Matanza, Mario Rovere; the Emeritus Professor in Public Health at the University of Lanús, Mario Testa and representatives of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo-Founding Line, the APDH, the CELS and the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team also participated in the event.

About Penchaszadeh

Physician specialized in pediatrics, medical genetics, public health and medical bioethics. He participated in the creation of the first "grandparenthood index" allowing the identification of missing children and advised Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo in the operation of the National DNA Data Bank.

He obtained his MD degree from the University of Buenos Aires in 1964 and went into exile in 1975. He was professor of Pediatrics and Medical Genetics at the Central University of Venezuela and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Columbia in New York.

For several years he has been a consultant in genetics and bioethics for various national and international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO). He is president of the UNESCO’s Latin American and Caribbean Network on Bioethics and a member of the Panel of Experts in Human Genetics of the WHO.

In 2007 he returned to Argentina, where he currently resides and he works as a professor of Health Sciences at the National University of La Matanza. He is the author of the "Genetics and human rights: agreements and disagreements" book, Paidós editorial, 2012; and coordinator of the National DNA Data Bank.

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Mario Testa, Estela de Carlotto, Víctor Penchaszadeh, Gabriela Alegre and Mario Rovere (from left to right).

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