More on CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing debate: need to engage public beyond embryo modification

With Dr Lara Marks I published an article for the Conversation commenting on the recent application by researchers at Francis Crick institute to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to use CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technologies to the human embryos:

“This is a controversial move, which would make the UK the only country in the world apart from China to carry out such research. […] The recent call by US scientists for a temporary pause “in the application of germ-line modification for clinical application in humans while the implications of such activity are discussed” has added a new intensity to the debate and reveals a potential bioethical divide between the US and the UK. The proposed moratorium has been hailed in some quarters as a positive step toward preserving the public’s trust and safety but because of its narrow focus on the germ-line, it also prevents alternative views from surfacing in the debate and constrains the boundaries of the much called-for public engagement with the issue”.

To continue reading click here: 

US and UK policies on Genome Editing/CRISPR-Cas9

Here is my take on the US and UK policies on genome editing/CRISPR-Cas9 for the Huffington Post Science blog.

Riding the wave of the recent Parliamentary approval of human embryonic mitochondrial DNA replacement techniques, the UK now wishes to continued to be portrayed as a pioneer and model for responsible research and innovation for other countries. It is therefore plausible to speculate that a HFEA license will be granted to Niakan’s research group, although probably it will be narrow in scope and in duration. […] I believe that we as bioethicists have a responsibility to try and bring to the surface the underlying forces that that shape the ethical boundaries of a particular debate. Political, social and economic factors shape ethics and policy making, as they shape science and technology in different ways in different countries.”

To read the full article click here: 

Today! 1st Cambridge Stem Cell Institute Postdoc Symposium

I am excited to be participating today as an invited speaker to the 1st Cambridge Stem Cell Institute Postdoc Symposium, where I will talk about the Gene Editing debate and the role of the bioethicist.

You can access the agenda of the symposium here

Many thanks to Dr Thomas Burgold for inviting me.