June 4-5, 2018 / Boston, MA
The scientific community has handed the world an incredible tool: the ability to make precise edits to the DNA in living cells. These technologies could allow us to transform our food, health and ecological systems. They also raise important questions about risks, benefits, ethics, equity and more.
CRISPRcon: Conversations on Science, Society and the Future of Gene Editing returned June 4-5, 2018 in Boston, MA to advance broad dialogue on whether and how gene editing technologies should make the transition from the lab into society at large. CRISPRcon was hosted by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. CRISPRcon is a program of Keystone Policy Center. This event was developed in partnership with the Personal Genetics Education Project of the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School (pgEd) and the CRISPRcon Steering Committee.
To view information from CRISPRcon 2017 in Berkeley, CA, click here.
This year’s program included a dynamic lineup of panels, keynotes, interactive breakout discussions and networking opportunities that considered gene editing across a variety of applications, disciplines, geographies, communities and cultures.
You can read a brief summary of CRISPRcon 2018 here.
Coffee and Registration
Welcome and Introductions
What’s at Stake? Diverse perspectives on the promise and perils of gene editing What’s at stake in society when it comes to gene editing? What are the potential benefits and perils of using – or not using – gene editing and what are the historical and current societal contexts through which we view them? This panel will explore multiple perspectives on the role of these technologies in agriculture, health, and conservation – and in achieving goals for a sustainable, equitable, and inclusive future.
Keynote: Conversation with a CRISPR scientist This interview with Feng Zhang will present some of the latest developments in CRISPR science and reflect on the role of scientists in the societal debate on gene editing. Zhang is a pioneering molecular biologist who adapted multiple CRISPR systems for use as genome engineering tools, including Cas9 and Cas12 and most recently, Cas13, which targets RNA. He is a core institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, an investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the James and Patricia Poitras Professor in Neuroscience at MIT, and an associate professor at MIT. His team has trained thousands of researchers in the use of CRISPR genome editing technology through direct education and by sharing more than 42,000 CRISPR components with 2,300 academic laboratories in 62 countries to help accelerate global research to benefit human health.
It Takes a Village: Scientists, communities, and the co-development of ecotechnologies Engagement is often promoted as an essential component of decision-making, especially for gene editing applications that can have community-wide impacts. This panel will explore case studies of how scientists are engaging with communities around the world to inform one of the most debated areas of gene editing research: ecotechnologies, including gene drives and other technologies, that could control and even eliminate entire populations of disease-carrying and invasive species.
Ideas Marketplace: Participant-led roundtable discussions
Of the People, By the People, For the People: Gene editing and technology democratization The relative ease and lower costs of new techniques have sparked visions of biotechnology democratization – with more people developing, collaborating on, and benefiting from gene editing applications to cure disease, meet consumer food demands, and more. But questions about intellectual property, safety, biosecurity, and governance remain. Using examples from health, agriculture, and the DIY community, this panel will explore the societal implications of technology democratization for what science and research get prioritized, who delivers it, how it is received or accepted, and who benefits.
CRISPR and the ‘Culture Creators’: The role of thought leaders, trendmakers, and trust builders in societal conversations on gene editing Public views of technology are often shaped by ‘culture creators’ and thought influencers. From community organizers and religious leaders to consumer brands and traditional journalists, how are culture creators interacting with their communities and consumers? How are they influencing and responding to societal perspectives on CRISPR in food, health, and the environment? And what lessons can we draw about the issues and outreach approaches that matter most as thought leaders engage with a diverse public on topics of gene editing?
Adjourn; CRISPRcon Reception
Partner-Sponsored 'Meet a Farmer' Reception Join farmers from around the country for food and continued conversation about gene editing and agriculture.
Coffee and Light Breakfast
Optional Capacity Building Session: Expanding the CRISPRcon conversation
Keynote: Wizards and Prophets: The edge of the petri dish Noted author and journalist Charles Mann will explore how different societal views shape our ideas about science and technology. Mann wrote the newly released “The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World” as well as the acclaimed books “1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus” — which won the 2006 National Academies Communication Award — and “1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created.”
Crossing Borders: International dynamics and influences on gene editing and society From biodiversity and biosecurity to agricultural trade and innovation in human gene editing, CRISPR raises important questions about the borders of biotechnology. This panel will explore examples of the challenges and opportunities in coordination, collaboration, and governance for gene editing across nations and cultures. It will consider similarities and differences in the international dynamics shaping gene editing in food, health, and conservation.
Infinity and Beyond? Exploring and determining limits for gene editing How do we debate and decide upon the future of gene editing from the perspective of moral, ethical, technical, and societal ‘limits’? How do we define principles around acceptability and identify when we are comfortable with these technologies, and when it is that we go ‘too far’? What is the role of dialogue and debate, how do we make it actionable, and how can we learn from and connect the debates happening within multiple sectors?
Mark Cigan, Genus
Sarah Davidson Evanega, Cornell Alliance for Science
Jennifer Doudna, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of California Berkeley
Cassie Edgar, McKee, Voorhees & Sease PLC
Bill Even, National Pork Board
Michael Fernandez, George Washington University Sustainability Collaborative
Michael Friend, Minority Coalition for Precision Medicine
Marnie Gelbart, Personal Genetics Education Project, Harvard Medical School
Neal Gutterson, Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDupont
Rachel Haurwitz, Caribou Bioscience
Tim Hunt, Editas Medicine
Greg Jaffe, Center for Science in the Public Interest
Susan Jenkins, Innovative Genomics Institute
Lee McGuire, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Jeff Moen, Noble Research Institute, LLC
Julie Pryor, McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT
Sesquile Ramon, Biotechnology Innovation Organization
Rebecca Shaw, World Wildlife Fund
This event was developed by the Keystone Policy Center in partnership with the Personal Genetics Education Project of the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and the CRISPRcon Steering committee. Special thanks to Johnny Kung and Florcy Romero of pgED.
CRISPRcon welcomes sponsorship from organizations interested in supporting CRISPRcon’s mission to create a unique forum of diverse perspectives on gene editing. Funding supports program development and direct costs associated with the event, including speaker support to enable diverse participation. CRISPRcon is a not-for-profit event.
CRISPRcon is a program of Keystone Policy Center, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Keystone operates under a statement of independence to serve all of its project participants and does not advocate for any specific or general uses of CRISPR or other gene-editing technologies.
For press inquiries concerning CRISPRcon, media access, and other questions, please contact:
The public doesn’t trust GMOs. Will it trust CRISPR? | Vox – Tamar Haspel
A CRISPR Pioneer on Gene Editing: “ We Shouldn’t Screw It Up” | The Atlantic – Sarah Zhang
At CRISPRcon, an organic luminary embraces gene editing. Will the industry follow? | The New Food Economy – Sam Bloch
The Hope of CRISPRcon: Year 2 | Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog
Shakir Cannon, Patient Advocate | The CRISPR Journal
Trust Key to CRISPR Debate | Cornell University Alliance for Science
CRISPRcon Explores the Future of Gene Editing | The GWU Food Institute
Summit Peers Intro the Future of Gene Editing | Agri-Pulse
At CRISPRcon, Debating the Promise and Perils of Gene Editing | Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Genome editing CRISPR technique takes center stage | Feedstuffs
CRISPRcon to focus on societal issues of gene editing | Berkley News
Illinois Pig Farmer Shares Perspective on Gene Editing on Animal Agriculture | National Hog Farmer
Hope for a brighter future | The Niche
Stories of CRISPRcon | Innovative Genomics Institute
CRISPRcon is a program of Keystone Policy Center. Keystone is a nationally recognized nonprofit working to bring diverse perspectives to bear in helping leaders, stakeholders, and communities reach common higher ground on society’s most challenging issues. Keystone manages overall development of CRISPRcon programming, planning, and fundraising. Keystone operates under a statement of independence to serve all of its project participants and does not take a position of advocacy on any specific or general use of CRISPR and other gene-editing technologies.
For more information about CRISPRcon, contact us below:CONTACT