Editing the genome – rewriting our society?

Interdisciplinary Symposium on the new CRISPR/Cas method

Targeted changes of genomes from simple and complex organisms have become considerably more accurate, simpler, faster and thus also cheaper through CRISPR/Cas methods. But which of these changes are desirable? Who can and should decide this – and how? Issues such as these will be the focus of discussions in the interdisciplinary symposium in Vienna on October 19 and 20, which includes keynotes by Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard University) and Stuart Newman (New York Medical College).

The aim of the interdisciplinary symposium is to stimulate a discussion in Austria about the multifaceted challenges of CRISPR/Cas and thus also to contribute to the discussion in Europe. Experts from many disciplines, stakeholders and policy-makers, as well as interested citizens, are invited to this exchange on the presence and future of CRISPR/Cas.

The symposium will be opened by a presentation on the method, its possibilities and limitations by one of the co-discoverers in Vienna (Krzysztof Chylinski), followed by scenarios on applications of the CRISPR/Cas method in the field of medicine, agriculture and ecology developed by students at the University of Vienna. Subsequently, national and international experts, policy makers and stakeholders will discuss specific topics and questions in three round tables. The ethical context and risk assessments will be discussed for specific applications of the CRISPR/Cas method, as well as socio-political issues such as how patenting of CRISPR/Cas methods and distributive justice are related, as well as governance issues and regulations. A final panel will discuss possible means and future paths that could turn this scientific revolution into a socio-politically desirable one. In discussions, questions from the audience are welcome.

In the evening event of October 19, Renée Schroeder (MFPL, Vienna) will moderate talks and a discussion of Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard University) and Stuart Newman (New York Medical Colleague) on the CRISPR/Cas method – between hope and responsibility.

The symposium will be hosted and respectively funded by the interdisciplinary research platform Responsible Research and Innovation in Academic Practices, the Department of Ecogenomics and Systems Biology, the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, the Department of Science and Technology Studies (all at the University of Vienna), as well as the Network transform! europe, the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, and the Wissenstransferzentrum Ost.

International Symposium "Editing Genomes with CRISPR"
Time: Thursday, 19 Oktober and Friday, 20 Oktober 2017
Venue: Billrothhaus, 1090 Vienna, Frankgasse 8

Talk with Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard University) and Stuart Newman (New York Medical College)
Time: Thursday, 19 Oktober, 17.30 hrs
Venue: Billrothhaus, 1090 Vienna, Frankgasse 8

The entire event will take place in English.

Further details: https://rri.univie.ac.at/en/activities/workshopconferences/crispr-symposium 

Wissenschaftlicher Kontakt

Dr. Melina Kerou

Department of Ecogenomics and Systems Biology
Universität Wien
1090 - Wien, Althanstraße 14
+43-1-4277-765 17

Dr. Ingrid Metzler

Institut für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung
Universität Wien
1010 - wien, Universitätsstraße 7/6. Stock
43-1-4277-496 06


Mag. Alexandra Frey

Pressebüro der Universität Wien
Forschung und Lehre
Universität Wien
1010 - Wien, Universitätsring 1
+43-1-4277-175 33
+43-664-60277-175 33