Genome editing techniques such as the CRISPR-Cas9 system are transforming biological research and hold the key for our expectations and ambitions for addressing global challenges such as food and energy production and disease prevention.
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is publishing the first findings of its programme of work looking at the recent and potential impact of advances in genome editing. The Council’s review identifies, defines and prioritises the ethical issues and questions that genome editing gives rise to in relation to its possible applications including in human reproduction, biomedicine and agriculture.
Journalists came to the SMC to hear members of the Working Group present the conclusions from the initial stage of work and announcements of new inquiries that will develop practical conclusions and recommendations for two areas that the Council has identified as requiring urgent ethical scrutiny: human genome editing for the avoidance of genetic disease; and genome editing in livestock to increase food production.
Hugh Whittall, Director, Nuffield Council on Bioethics
Dr Andy Greenfield, Chair of the Nuffield Council Working Group and Member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, Programme Leader at MRC Harwell, Member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
Professor Karen Yeung, Member of the Nuffield Council Working Group, Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Technology, Ethics & Law in Society (TELOS), King’s College London
Professor John Dupre, Member of the Nuffield Council Working Group, Professor of Philosophy of Science, Exeter University and Director of Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences