The Forum for Genetic Research wishes to understand the role that different definitions of “natural” and “artificial” play in discussions of technologies and their applications. We aim to scrutinize the notion of nature in the (natural) sciences, and at the same time to invite a wider circle to critically evaluate their understanding of these opposing terms.

Kürbis (Image: G. Bleikolm)
Kürbis (Image: G. Bleikolm)

Current productions

In collaboration with the Swiss Biodiversity Forum, the Forum for Genetic Research has brought experts into dialogue to address the subject “natural – artificial” from diverse starting points. The four interviews have been brought together in the beautifully illustrated book “Kehrseiten” (flipsides).

Kehrseiten - Gespräche über Natürliches und Künstliches (2013, Forum Genforschung / Forum Biodiversität)
  • 2013


Worauf basiert unser Verständnis von natürlich bzw. künstlich? Acht Schweizer Persönlichkeiten setzen sich in fachübergreifenden Dialogen mit dieser Frage auseinander.

In progress

All work on the topic "natural - artificial" is currently completed.

Completed work

Pupil competition 2005

In 2005, the Forum for Genetic research ran a contest for pupils from secondary schools on the subject of “natural – or artificial?”. The submitted works were of impressive quality and approached the subject with diverse techniques and forms of expressions. The winners of the contest can be found here (German and French only).


Further information

Teaser Image Synthetic Biology Portal

Synthetic biology also poses questions regarding "naturalness" and "artificiality". They are being addressed by ethicists and philosophers but also film makers and artists. To find out more, visit our thematic portal on synthetic biology.

Further topics of interest