Rethinking the Ethics of Embryo Research: Genome Editing, 14 Days and Beyond

Progress Educational Trust
Institute of Child Health, University College London, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH
7 December 2016
The 2016 Annual Conference of the Progress Educational Trust (PET) focused on genome editing and on the 14-day limit on human embryo research.
The 2016 conference was supported by Merck (gold sponsor), the Anne McLaren Memorial Trust Fund (silver sponsor), Ferring Pharmaceuticals, the London Women's Clinic and the Medical Research Council (bronze sponsors), and Caribou Biosciences (drinks reception sponsors).
PET's Patron Baroness Mary Warnock adapted her Keynote Address at the conference into an article for PET's flagship publication BioNews. This was published on New Year's Day, to mark the occasion of Baroness Warnock being awarded the highest honour in the New Year Honours List. Other BioNews articles about the conference are linked to under the relevant session headings below.
PET's Communications Officer Sandy Starr discussed the conference in oral evidence he presented to the Science and Technology Select Committee of the UK Parliament's House of Commons.
The conference prompted two half-hour documentaries for BBC Radio 4 (listen to episode 1 here and episode 2 here). These were adapted, with additional material, into a further documentary for the BBC World Service (listen here). These documentaries featured recordings from the conference, as well as interviews with several of the conference speakers.
A YouGov poll commissioned for these programmes, reported on BioNews and on BBC News, found that almost half the general public would support a doubling of the 14-day limit to 28 days.
The conference received widespread media coverage elsewhere, including:
A news article and a three-page special feature in the Observer.
An item on BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day (listen here).
Two interviews on the Naked Genetics podcast (listen here and here).
Articles in Prospect magazine and in Science magazine.
Two news articles (here and here) and a comment piece (here) in The Times.
Articles in The Sun, in the Daily Mail and in the Herald.
Articles in Chemistry World and on the Human Rights in Ireland website.

Welcome Address
Sarah Norcross (Director of PET)

Keynote Address
Chair: Sarah Norcross
The Warnock Report and the 14-Day Rule
Baroness Mary Warnock (Patron of PET and Chair of the UK Government's Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology, which published the Warnock Report)
On BioNews, read a synopsis of this session by Dr Cathy Herbrand.

The 14-Day Rule: Calling Time on Embryo Research
Chair: Sally Cheshire (Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and Chair of Health Education North West)
'A Certain Kind of English Pragmatism': The 14-Day Rule in Historical Perspective
Sarah Franklin (Professor of Sociology and Director of the Reproductive Sociology Research Group at the University of Cambridge)
Development of the Human Embryo beyond Day 7 in a Dish
Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz (Professor of Mammalian Development and Stem Cell Biology at the University of Cambridge's Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience)
Extending the 14-Day Rule: Would This Unlock the Secrets of Human Health and Disease?
Dr Simon Fishel (Founder and President of CARE Fertility and the Rachel Foundation)
On BioNews, read a synopsis of this session by Dr Valerie Shaikly and a related comment piece by Giulia Cavaliere.

Professor Sir Ian Wilmut in Conversation with Roger Highfield
Sir Ian Wilmut (Emeritus Professor of Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh)
Dr Roger Highfield (Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum Group, and coauthor (with Ian Wilmut) of After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Human Cloning)
On BioNews, read a synopsis of this session by Dr Kirsty Horsey.

Genome Editing: CRISPR at the Cutting Edge
Chair: Alison Murdoch (Professor of Reproductive Medicine at Newcastle University's Institute of Genetic Medicine)
Human Cells from Animals?
Bruce Whitelaw (Professor of Animal Biotechnology, Head of Developmental Biology and Deputy Director at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute)
Genome Editing in Embryos
Dr Kathy Niakan (Group Leader of the Francis Crick Institute's Human Embryo and Stem Cell Laboratory, and the first researcher licensed by the UK regulator to use genome editing in human embryo research)
On BioNews, read a synopsis of this session by Annabel Slater.

What's So Special about the Status of the Embryo?
Chair: Fiona Fox (Chair of Trustees at PET, and Founder and Chief Executive of the Science Media Centre)
What Is an Embryo?
Alison Murdoch (Professor of Reproductive Medicine at Newcastle University's Institute of Genetic Medicine)
Should Religious Convictions Be Allowed to Determine the Progress of Scientific Research?
Lord George Carey (Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, and former Archbishop of Canterbury)
The Injustice of Destroying Embryonic Human Beings
David Jones (Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, and Visiting Professor of Bioethics at St Mary's University Twickenham)
How to Think about Embryos
Stephen Wilkinson (Professor of Bioethics at Lancaster University's Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion)
On BioNews, read a synopsis of this session by Dr Jess Buxton.

Gold sponsor:
Silver sponsor:
Anne McLaren Memorial Trust Fund
Bronze sponsors:
Drinks reception sponsor: