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EVENTS

From Three-Person IVF to Genome Editing: The Science and Ethics of Engineering the Embryo

Progress Educational Trust
Institute of Child Health, University College London, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH
09 December 2015 9.30am-5pm
The 2015 Annual Conference of the Progress Educational Trust (PET) focused on the advent of new methods of making enduring changes to the human embryo - changes that, if used in treatment, will affect not only the person born but also subsequent generations.
Read this report to find out how many people attended the conference, who they were and what impact the conference had. Contact Sarah Norcross at if you are interested in sponsoring PET's 2016 Annual Conference.
The 2015 conference was supported by Merck (gold sponsor), the Edwards and Steptoe Research Trust Fund (silver sponsor), and Ferring Pharmaceuticals, the London Women's Clinic, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust (bronze sponsors).
Watch a video of highlights from the conference below.
Articles about the conference, in PET's flagship publication BioNews and elsewhere, are linked to under the relevant session headings below.
Social media activity before, during and after the conference has been compiled via Storify here. Relevant news, comment and broadcast items circulated before the conference have been compiled via Storify here.
The themes of this conference were further developed at PET's follow-up event 'CRISPR/Cas9: Should We Be Using It to Experiment on Human Embryos?'.

Welcome Address
Sarah Norcross (Director of PET)
Read this comment piece by Sarah Norcross in the Observer, about why PET decided to produce this conference.
On BioNews, see this video in which Sarah is interviewed on local, national and international radio about the use of genome editing in human embryo research.

Understanding Enduring Changes to the Embryo
Chair: Dr Roger Highfield (science writer and broadcaster, and Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum Group)
What Is the Germline?
Professor Azim Surani (Director of Germline and Epigenomics Research at the Gurdon Institute, and discoverer of genomic imprinting)
Professor Azim Surani was interviewed about his conference presentation on the Naked Genetics podcast 'Crazy for CRISPR' - listen here.
On BioNews, read a synopsis of this session by Dr Nicoletta Charolidi and a related comment piece by Wendy Suffield.
Also read this related comment piece written by Professor Azim Surani for The Conversation, this related comment piece written by session chair Dr Roger Highfield for Edge.org, and this news piece about the session by Tom Chivers on BuzzFeed.

Three-Person IVF: What Makes Mitochondrial Donation Different?
Chair: Bobbie Farsides (Professor of Clinical and Biomedical Ethics at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and Adviser to PET)
Why Do We Need Mitochondrial Donation?
Doug Turnbull (Professor of Neurology at Newcastle University, and Director of the Wellcome Trust's Centre for Mitochondrial Research)
Why the UK is the Best Place for Mitochondrial Donation
Sally Cheshire (Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and Chair of Health Education North West)
When Mitochondria Came to the House of Lords
Viscount Matt Ridley (science writer and journalist, and Conservative Peer in the House of Lords)
On BioNews, read a synopsis of this session by Dr Cathy Herbrand.
Also read this related interview with session speaker Professor Doug Turnbull in the Financial Times, and this related news piece by Nigel Hawkes in the British Medical Journal.

Keynote Address
Chair: Timandra Harkness (science writer and broadcaster, and presenter of the BBC Radio 4 programmes FutureProofing and Data, Data Everywhere)
Why the UK Should Be Leading the Discussion on Embryo Engineering
Professor Sir Mark Walport (Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, and Head of the Government Office for Science)
On BioNews, read a synopsis of this session by Sarah Pritchard.
Also read this related front-page news piece by Sarah Knapton in the Daily Telegraph.

Genome Editing and CRISPR: The Science of Engineering the Embryo
Chair: Timandra Harkness (science writer and broadcaster, and presenter of the BBC Radio 4 programmes FutureProofing and Data, Data Everywhere)
Festive Christmas Presents and Genomic CrispCas Presence: The Strategic Application of Scissors and Tape
Dr Tony Perry (Head of the University of Bath's Laboratory of Mammalian Molecular Embryology, and Member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics' Working Group on Genome Editing)
Gnomes and Genomes
Professor Robin Lovell-Badge (Group Leader in Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at the Francis Crick Institute, and member of the Hinxton Group's Steering Committee)
Dr Tony Perry was interviewed about his conference presentation on the Naked Genetics podcast 'Crazy for CRISPR' - listen here.
On BioNews, read a synopsis of this session by Dr Jess Buxton and a related comment piece by session speaker Professor Robin Lovell-Badge.
Also read this related editorial in The Lancet.

Germline in the Sand: The Ethics and Law of Engineering the Embryo
Chair: Fiona Fox (Chair of Trustees at PET, and Founder and Director of the Science Media Centre)
Embryo Selection vs Embryo Modification
Emily Jackson (Professor of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Commissioner at the Judicial Appointments Commission)
Brave New British Babies
Dr Calum MacKellar (Director of Research at the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, and Fellow at the Centre for Bioethics and Human Dignity)
Caught between the Cheerleaders and the Cassandras
Revd Dr Brendan McCarthy (National Adviser to the Church of England on Medical Ethics and Health and Social Care Policy, and Member of the Conference of European Churches' Reference Group on Bioethics)
We Must Improve on Evolution
John Harris (Emeritus Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at the University of Manchester, and member of the Hinxton Group's Steering Committee)
On BioNews, read a synopsis of this session by Antony Blackburn-Starza.
Also read this related comment piece written by session speaker Professor John Harris for the Financial Times, this related comment piece written by session speaker Revd Dr Brendan McCarthy for the Church of England, and two related pieces - a news piece and a comment piece - by Oliver Moody in The Times.

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