Throughout 2017 the Nuffield Council on Bioethics has been undertaking a range of evidence-gathering activities to inform the deliberations of its working group examining the ethical issues raised by genome editing and human reproduction.
We commissioned a background paper, The regulatory and legal situation of human embryo, gamete and germ line gene editing research and clinical applications in the People’s Republic of China, which was written by Dr Achim Rosemann, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK; Li Jiang, Soochow University, Suzhou, China; Xinqing Zhang, Peking Union Medical College / Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China.
Dr Rumiana Yotova, Lecturer and Director of Studies in Law, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, was commissioned to carry out a report on The Regulation of Genome Editing and Human Reproduction Under International Law, EU Law and Comparative Law.
Fact-finding meetings and panel interviews
Three fact-finding meetings and four panel interviews were conducted with experts in reproductive genetics, embryology, genome sequencing, bioinformatics, genomics research and ethics between March and October 2017.
Public survey (closed on 14 July 2017)
The Council wanted to hear as wide a range of views as possible on ethical questions about these potential uses of genome editing and how far we, as a society, should go in altering fundamental aspects of human biology.
The survey set out three scenarios to that could plausibly arise in the future, each followed by a set of questions to explore the ethical considerations and was open between 15 May and 14 July 2017.
A document containing the survey questions can be found here.
The survey can also be used as a tool for anyone facilitating discussion about genome editing technologies. If you would be interested in using it for this purpose, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call for evidence (15 May – 14 July 2017)
Alongside the public survey, we issued a call for evidence, which aimed to gather more in-depth information from organisations and individuals with an existing interest in or knowledge about genome editing. The questions were similar to those in our 2015-2016 call for evidence on genome editing but focussed on human reproductive uses.
Download the consultation document (word).
A series of six research interviews with scholars, activists and clinicians on the potential impacts on disabled people of human reproductive applications of genome editing was conducted between May and August 2017.
Review of literature
A review of the philosophical and ethical literature relevant to genome editing and human reproduction was conducted by Council Executive staff members between June and October 2017.