Advances in biotechnology have made human gene editing a reality. Progress in the field is gaining momentum and promises for well-being at a level not previously imagined, emerge. This progress also raises ethical, legal and social considerations together with valid concerns that the law and ethics are lagging behind. Moreover, recent reports on abuse of these technologies have triggered disquiet. Gene editing involves precise additions, deletions and alterations to the genome. Basic science research in gene editing is already under way in laboratories globally. Clinical applications involving somatic (non- reproductive cells) are in the early stages and going forward there is great potential for the use of this technology in germline (reproductive) cells. The first SA Conference on Gene Editing, hosted by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) together with The Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics and the Wits School of Clinical Medicine will discuss and debate these issues including what this could mean for us in South Africa and Africa as a whole.
View the attached programme for details.