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Researchers’ ability to alter and design genomes has taken a leap forward in recent years with the development of CRISPR, a remarkably precise genome-editing tool that scientists are now using in many species (including bacteria, plants, and mammals). The spotlight on CRISPR has intensified dramatically since the April 2015 publication of the first study using CRISPR in human embryos. Scientists are at the forefront in responding to this development, and are setting up meetings and committees to discuss the implications, direction, and regulation of genome-editing technologies. In doing so, they are largely defining the terms of public debate.
This talk discussed this now-familiar pattern of action around emerging technologies. What are the limits to this approach? To what extent can or should scientists shape society’s response to new technologies? Do we need new models for responsible governance of biotechnology in the 21st century?
Featuring Emma Frow, Assistant Professor with the School of Biological & Health Systems Engineering and the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes.