August 16–17, 2017
University of California, Berkeley
The scientific community has handed the world an incredible tool: the ability to make precise changes to the DNA in living cells, which could allow us to eradicate diseases, transform the farming and agriculture industries, and enable massive leaps forward in environmental and life science. That is the promise of CRISPR and other technologies that allow scientists to make precise edits to genomes.
But the science behind CRISPR is just one piece of the puzzle. It is also essential to hear the voices of people whose lives could be impacted by this powerful technology: patients, doctors, farmers, consumers, nonprofit leaders, environmentalists, and more. These stakeholders will play a critical role in assessing the potential of CRISPR to make the transition from the lab to the outside world.
Hosted at the University of California, Berkeley, August 16-17, 2017, CRISPRcon brought together a broad selection of diverse voices to discuss the future of this groundbreaking technology across all applications. The schedule included a diverse line-up of speakers on a broad range of issues related to science, society, and the future of gene editing. Read a brief event overview here.
Registration and networking
Welcome and introduction
Taking the Debate from the Lab to the Living Room: Reflections from a CRISPR researcher on the social dimensions of the science With CRISPR, a hypothesis that originated in the lab is driving debate throughout society. As this debate evolves, scientists are key partners and thought leaders in helping the world understand the technology and its potential applications – and in shaping the scientific community’s deliberations over how societal values should inform future investigations. In this session, a pioneer in CRISPR research will reflect on her journey from scientific discovery to discourse on the promise and perils of gene editing with stakeholders worldwide.
Envisioning the Future: Where might CRISPR take us – and do we want to go there? Across the world, CRISPR’s potential is being explored at a breathtaking pace. The resulting real-world gene editing applications could end up in our hospitals, grocery stores and ecosystems in under a decade. This panel will consider hopes and fears as we contemplate the future of CRISPR.
CRISPR in the Public Eye: Societal perceptions of science How does the public engage with, view, value and trust scientific innovation? What can we learn from the acceptance or rejection of past innovations to inform the kinds of public conversations on science and values that need to be undertaken in the future? This panel will bring together experts in science communications to reflect on societal perceptions of science and their implications for CRISPR.
Reception and Ideas Marketplace
Optional Breakout Session: Intergenerational engagement on gene-editing technologies Whether on human gene editing, gene drives, biosecurity or food security, the decisions made now regarding CRISPR and its applications will have consequences for today’s children and generations to come. Yet these next generation stakeholders are rarely involved in the discussions that will shape their futures. This facilitated dialogue will explore pathways for better involving multiple generations in future dialogue and discussion on CRISPR.
Hosted by the UN Major Group for Children and Youth
Genome Surgery: CRISPR cures, community perceptions and questions of equity Gene editing offers the potential to find therapies for life threatening and/or debilitating human genetic diseases – from cardiac and neurological diseases to Huntington’s disease and sickle cell anemia. Yet human gene editing raises many questions related to bioethics and equity: Who can access these therapies? How is personal choice given a fair voice? Where do we draw the line between a cure and an enhancement? Who funds a cure? And, how far do we go in treating disease through germline editing?
If We Edit It, Will We Eat It?: Social acceptance of CRISPR in food Researchers are exploring the potential of CRISPR to shape food production for numerous objectives such as eliminating croppests, improving animal welfare, enhancing nutrition, increasing yields and improving sustainability. This research is underway in the context of growing populations, shifting diets and limited natural resources, as well as increasing consumer interest in food governance, transparency, quality, animal health and environmental impacts. This panel will discuss the values surrounding gene-edited food and social acceptance.
CRISPR in the Wild: Environmental considerations for Gene Editing? CRISPR offers the potential to eliminate invasive rodents and malaria-carrying insects, improve environmental outcomes of food production, restore endangered species, and even bring back extinct species. Yet it raises concerns regarding undesirable and potentially permanent impacts to the environment and biodiversity. This panel will reflect a range of perspectives from the conservation community on environmental considerations for gene editing.
Optional Breakout Session: FoodMinds Food Values Project™ salon A broad set of consumer food values is comprised of interrelated social, political, regulatory, agricultural and technological factors that are changing the way food is produced, distributed, marketed, regulated, sold and consumed. These values are emerging in different ways around the globe. To help CRISPR scientists and stakeholders better anticipate the issues and opportunities for gene editing, this facilitated dialogue will generate insights around food values that are impacting consumer food choices.
Hosted by FoodMinds and Recombinetics, Inc.
Optional Breakout Session: Diversity, equity and inclusion in the CRISPR debate Applications of CRISPR have the potential to impact communities across the world – yet their debate is often limited to the so-called ivory towers. This facilitated dialogue will further explore key questions of equity: How can the debate over CRISPR most meaningfully engage underrepresented voices, those of the underserved, indigenous, remote and/or at-risk communities, and those that might be most affected by new gene editing technologies? What unique issues arise regarding equity, access and choice when considering diverse communities?
Hosted by the Minority Coalition for Precision Medicine and the Personal Genetics Education Project (Harvard Medical School)
Whether and How: Who determines the future of CRISPR? Numerous voices and values will influence the future of CRISPR. National regulatory processes, international protocols and public perspectives will play a role in determining not only what technologies are available, but also whether they are accepted and utilized. CRISPR may even require new modes of engagement and decision-making. This panel will explore the roles of science and values in decision-making, as well as who gets to determine the future of CRISPR, and how.
Where to from Here?: Closing reflections on CRISPR, science, and society CRISPRcon 2017 is just the beginning. What have we learned and what should we bring back to our respective institutions, industries and communities? What are the next steps in the evolution of CRISPR and in the public dialogue around it? What is the individual obligation to carry the conversation forward? This closing panel will reflect on where we’ve been and where we should go in the discourse on CRISPR, science and society.
CRISPRcon was organized by a steering committee of individuals from the scientific community, industry and academia. Program development was facilitated by the Keystone Policy Center.
Axel Bouchon, Bayer
Melanie Cantarutti, UC Berkeley
James Corbett, Centura Health
Jennifer Doudna, UC Berkeley
Cassie Edgar, Genus
Sarah Evanega, Cornell Alliance for Science
Scott Fahrenkrug, Recombinetics
Michael Fernandez, GW Sustainability Collaborative
J. Keith Gilless, UC Berkeley
Neal Gutterson, DuPont Pioneer
Rachel Haurwitz, Caribou Biosciences, Inc.
Tim Hunt, Editas
Susan Jenkins, Innovative Genomics Institute
Kathleen Merrigan, George Washington University
Andrew Michael, Centura Health
Jeff Moen, Noble Research Institute, LLC
Tammy Lee Stanoch, Recombinetics
Looking to better understand terminology of CRISPR and gene editing? Check out the Innovative Genomics Institute’s Glossary.
For more information about CRISPRcon, please contact us:CONTACT