Aug. 16-17 CRISPRcon to focus on societal issues of gene editing

ATTENTION: Reporters covering science, healthcare, agriculture and environment

WHAT: “CRISPRcon: Science, Society, and the Future of Gene Editing,” a conference bringing together farmers, doctors, patients, environmentalists, consumers, nonprofits, community leaders and scientists to discuss potential applications of CRISPR-Cas technology, ranging from human and animal health to agriculture and conservation.

CRISPR technology allows for precise changes to be made to the DNA of living cells, which holds the potential to eradicate diseases, transform agriculture and enable massive leaps forward in environmental and life science. Through a series of keynotes, panels and interactive discussions, CRISPRcon will provide a forum to share ideas, ask and answer questions and explore the path forward.

WHEN: Wednesday afternoon, August 16, and all-day Thursday, August 17

WHERE: Stanley Hall on the UC Berkeley campus (see map)

WHO: The more than two dozen participants will include:

  • Jennifer Doudna, a UC Berkeley professor and co-inventor of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing;
  • Greg Simon, the director of the Biden Cancer Initiative.

DETAILS: Since the CRISPR-Cas9 technology was invented five years ago by a team led UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna and her colleauge Emmanuel Charpentier, it has revolutionized biomedical and agricultural research while fueling angst about questionable applications, such as designer crops, farm animals and humans.

The Keystone Policy Center is facilitating this event to examine the social dimensions of CRISPR in medicine, food and the environment, as well as the role of regulation and social acceptance in determining the future of CRISPR.

“Fulfilling the promise and the potential of CRISPR technology requires collaboration and thoughtful, open dialogue,” Doudna said. “CRISPRcon will provide a forum for the kind of honest discourse we need to examine what a future with CRISPR technology might look like, and what its continued advancement might require in terms of policy and oversight.”

Among the topics to be discussed at CRISPRcon are:

  • Envisioning 2050: Where might CRISPR take us – and do we want to go there?
  • CRISPR in the public eye: Societal perceptions of science
  • Genome surgery: CRISPR cures, community perceptions, and questions of equity
  • If we edit it, will we eat it?: Social acceptance of CRISPR in food
  • If it’s CRISPR, is it wild?: Considerations for CRISPR in conservation
  • Whether and how: Who determines the future of CRISPR?

NOTE: Reporters interested in covering the event should send an email to