This Meeting Announcement and Call for Applications has been sent to us by the GFBR Secretariat:
The Global Forum on Bioethics in Research (GFBR) will hold a two-day meeting in Singapore on 12-13 November 2019 on the theme of “Genome editing for human benefit: ethics, engagement and governance”.
The ability to manipulate the genome has been available for many years; however, the pace of innovation recently has brought a series of ethical, social and legal questions forward. In particular, CRISPR-Cas9 has made precise, simple and cheap editing of a genome a realistic possibility. Genome editing could be used to alter an individual’s genome to address a specific health issue or used as a public health intervention through genetic changes to disease vectors like mosquitoes. Historically, research using emerging genomic technologies has largely taken place in high income countries with the ethical debates focused in these settings. The 2019 GFBR meeting will engage low- and middle- income country (LMIC) perspectives so their voices are heard in the research phase and early development of genome editing technologies.
The meeting will focus on emerging applications of genome editing that are designed to benefit human health. Somatic and germline human genome editing research are within scope, along with gene drive research that is intended to prevent the transmission of disease by vectors to humans. Common challenges presented by these applications include the need to negotiate a high degree of uncertainty and demonstrate technical feasibility and safety through complex risk assessments, social acceptability and the need for appropriate governance systems. Please note that gene drive applications in conservation, food security or biosecurity are not within the scope of this meeting.
As part of the upcoming meeting, the GFBR is seeking case studies that bring attention to key ethical issues associated with genome editing research in LMIC settings and proposals to participate in a session on guidance and policy issues.
The GFBR is also seeking participants to attend the meeting, with places awarded on a competitive basis. A limited number of places are also available for journalists from LMICs, to provide an opportunity to forge connections with scientists, ethicists, policy-makers and others.
Full details on how to make an application are available on the GFBR website and the background paper provides further details on the meeting theme. The deadline for applications is 17.00 BST on 7 June 2019.
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