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Understanding polyoma DNA


Bureaucracy and citizenship in Italy
Renato Dulbecco Scientist
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With regard to this issue of Italian citizenship... because, at this time, taking American citizenship, I would have lost my Italian citizenship, therefore you see they didn't ask me to draw up any documents on this. I didn't know that nothing had to be done so I was thinking that in Italy they didn't know that I had taken American citizenship and they only found out when I had won the Nobel Prize, because then people spoke a lot about all this and, in fact, I have a copy of my birth certificate, which has a note on the side that says that my Italian citizenship was revoked on such and such a date, because this was no longer permitted... is very interesting.

[Q] But did Italy not try to give you dual citizenship or honorary citizenship?

No. I have honorary citizenship from a few towns. But you know, the fact is that in truth from a practical point of view, it doesn't matter, because I have a passport and I can go where I want, that's enough. If I wanted to have my Italian citizenship back I would have to move back to Italy and stay there for two years and so it's not really worth it... it would be against my ethics.

Riguardo a questa questione della cittadinanza italiana... perché, in quel momento, prendendo la cittadinanza americana, avrei perduto la cittadinanza italiana, però si vede che non mi hanno chiesto di fare nessun documento su quello. Non sapevo che si dovesse fare nulla per cui credo che in Italia non lo sapevano che io avevo preso la cittadinanza americana e quando sono venuti a saperlo è quando ho preso il Premio Nobel, perché allora se ne è parlato molto di tutto questo e difatti ho proprio una copia del mio atto di nascita, che ha un'appendice di lato che dice che la cittadinanza italiana mi è stata revocata in data tale tale, perché appunto non era permissibile questo... è proprio interessante.

[Q] Ma l'Italia non ha più cercato di darti la doppia cittadinanza o una cittadinanza onoraria, no?

No. Cittadinanze onorarie ce l'ho di parecchie città, quelle ce l'ho. Ma sai, il fatto è anche che, in fondo, dal punto di vista pratico, non ha importanza, perché ho un passaporto posso andare dove voglio, basta quello, sì. Perché se volessi riprendere la cittadinanza italiana, dovrei permanere in Italia, dimorare per due anni e allora questo, insomma non vale la pena... sarebbe... contro le mie etiche.

The Italian biologist Renato Dulbecco (1914-2012) had early success isolating a mutant of the polio virus which was used to create a life-saving vaccine. Later in his career, he initiated the Human Genome Project and was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1975 for furthering our understanding of cancer caused by viruses.

Listeners: Paola De Paoli Marchetti

Paola De Paoli Marchetti is a science journalist who graduated with an honours degree in foreign languages and literature from the University Ca’Foscari, Venice. She has been a science journalist since the 1960s and has been on the staff of the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore since 1970. She was elected president of UGIS (Italian Association of Science Journalists) in 1984. She has been a Member of the Board of EUSJA (European Union of Science Journalists’ Associations, Strasbourg), and was its president in 1987-1988 and 1998-2000. In May 2000 she was unanimously elected president emeritus. She was a member of the National Council of Italian Journalists (1992-1998). From 2002 to 2004 she was member of the working group for scientific communication of the National Committee for Biotechnology. She has also been a consultant at the Italian Ministry of Research and Technology and editor-in-chief of the publication MRST, policy of science and technology. She has co-authored many publications in the field of scientific information, including Le biotecnologie in Italia, Le piste della ricerca and Luna vent’anni dopo.

Tags: Italy, USA

Duration: 1 minute, 38 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008