This week at the Progress Educational Trust (9 October 2017)
The Progress Educational Trust (PET) is pleased to publish the findings of its 'Basic Understanding of Genome Editing' project, carried out jointly with fellow charity Genetic Alliance UK and funded by the Wellcome Trust.
The project explored what patients and laypeople think and know about genome editing and its implications, and developed recommendations for how best to discuss genome editing in public. There has never been a more important time for people to get to grips with this subject, when the headlines are dominated by news of researchers editing the genomes of human embryos.
Such embryo research has recently been carried out:
The final example is especially relevant to PET's project as the Chinese researchers did not employ the CRISPR approach to genome editing, but instead used an alternative approach known as 'base editing'. In his article 'How should we discuss genome editing in public?', in PET's flagship publication BioNews (to which you can subscribe for free here), PET Communications Officer Sandy Starr argues that this bears out one of the Key Recommendations of PET's report.
'Prioritise explaining the use(s) of genome editing over explaining the mechanism(s) via which genome editing works. Deprioritise the term "CRISPR" - do not use the term interchangeably with genome editing (as CRISPR is just one possible approach to genome editing), and think carefully about whether and when it is necessary to refer to CRISPR at all.'
Robin is one of the experts who will be speaking at PET's upcoming Annual Conference 'Crossing Frontiers: Moving the Boundaries of Human Reproduction', taking place in London on Friday 8 December 2017. The stellar lineup of speakers also includes:
The conference is supported by the Anne McLaren Memorial Trust Fund and the Edwards and Steptoe Research Trust Fund (silver sponsors), and by Ferring Pharmaceuticals and the London Women's Clinic (bronze sponsors).
The conference agenda can be found here, and details of attendance fees and how to book can be found here. If tweeting about the conference, please use the hashtag #petconf17. If you have any queries, please email