Oral Presentation Australasian Association of Bioethics & Health Law and New Zealand Bioethics Conference

SYMPOSIA: Gene Editing Technologies: Refining our understanding of obligations and key concepts (931)

G. Owen Schaefer 1 , Tamra M Lysaght 1 , Markus Labude 1 , Vicki Xafis 1
  1. Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Symposium Chair: Tamra LYSAGHT

Symposium Facilitators: Owen SCHAEFER, Markus LABUDE, Vicki XAFIS, Tamra LYSAGHT

Abstract: This symposium focuses on two themes central to current considerations in gene editing technologies including the application of such technologies. The symposium comprises two 20-minute talks and two 20-minute discussion sessions following each talk. The first five minutes of the discussion sessions will be dedicated to one or two key questions on each of the topics and will elicit participants’ anonymous responses via an online platform. We have successfully employed this format previously. The remaining 15 minutes will be used to discuss the issues documented via the online platform to promote debate on these challenges. A round-up session of 10 minutes will reflect on the discussions held.

The first paper draws on a recent controversial application of such technologies, which was condemned by the international research community. It asks us to consider what responsibilities the scientific community has when members become aware of planned applications of gene editing technologies.

The second paper examines the concept of ‘social consensus’ much referred to in reports and statements as a key condition under which heritable genome editing might be permissible. This paper aims to promote the exchange and refinement of views around the scope and nature of ‘social consensus’ and it highlights the unintended potential impact of promoting ‘societal consensus’ before heritable genome editing can proceed.

Symposium contributions will be acknowledged in publications arising.