Scoop on this week’s Paris human gene editing/genetic modification meetings

This week there will be two meetings in Paris as part of the ongoing international dialogue on human genetic modification/human gene editing, CRISPR, and figuring out a wise path forward.

Paris CRISPR Meeting

A one-day workshop will be held on April 28th “jointly organised by the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM), the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the French Academy of Medicine; with kind support from the InterAcademy Partnership for Health and the French Academy Foundation. It will be held at the French Academy of Medicine in Paris.”

It will be followed the next day by a more open gathering described this way, “The consensus committee will host a public meeting in Paris, France on April 29, 2016, focusing on the principles underlying human gene editing governance and policy.” You can also watch a webcast of the meeting at that link.

These meetings follow up on others including the first such gathering that was held in December in Washington, D.C. (more on that human gene editing meeting here in my series of posts on it). I attended the D.C. meeting and thought it was great, except that I felt the concluding statement wasn’t quite strong enough. Still, it was a very positive, constructive meeting overall.

French National Academy CRISPR

I’m curious to see how these Paris meetings go and whether the very different range of speakers as compared to D.C. as well as the European location that is host to the meeting leads to a more strongly worded concluding statement on the path forward for human modification. That may not be the case as the French National Academy of Medicine recently issued a consensus statement/report that is quite similar to that from the U.S. (see image above of the key points). We would see France and other European countries lift bans on genetically modified human embryo production. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if it is done with appropriate openness, transparency, and a focus on projects with an urgent need to advance understanding. You can read my own ABCD Plan on human genetic modification policy here.

I’m hoping to have a few live blog reports from someone attending the Paris meetings so stay tuned.