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Biosecurity in Genome Editing: Potential Risks and Mitigation Strategies

22 September 2017 VolkswagenStiftung (Volkswagen Foundation)

An international workshop on October 11-13 in Hanover, Germany, brings together renowned experts from genetic engineering, security studies, government bodies and authorities to discuss the risks of genome editing for humans, animals and the environment. They will fathom which new prospects will open up for treatment and cure of diseases, how this topic should be communicated to and discussed with the public, and how potential risks should be addressed by regulatory authorities.

Recent advances in genome surgery are promising: the targeted modification of the genome can now be carried out with the utmost precision, with relatively simple means and at low cost. This could lead to enormous advances in therapies and the prevention of diseases. This workshop will examine the latest advances in genome editing and analyses current and potential applications in a wide range of organisms such as microbes, plants, animals, and humans. At the same time, potential risks and misuse will be addressed.

The workshop is organized by an international consortium reflecting the need for international dialogue. This is particularly important because of the rapid development and wide-spread use of genome editing tools, such as the CRISPR-Cas9 system, in countries with various, sometimes divergent, regulations and governance of research. Therefore, also security concerns – relating to intentional misuse – will be discussed as well.

At the workshop in Hanover, leading experts from scientific organizations (Leopoldina, Royal Society, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, etc.), from science (Universities of Oxford, Stanford, Cambridge, Munich, etc.) as well as from regulatory institutions (UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India, etc.) will analyze experimental, ethical, legal, and communicative aspects of genome editing.

International Workshop: "Assessing the Security Implications of Genome Editing Technology"

October 11-13, 2017

Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, Germany

Link to the event website:

Members of the press are cordially invited to attend: Please register first under We will be pleased to arrange interviews to provide you with further information.


Link to the detailed program:

Keynote Lectures: A New Age of Biology

  • Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, ribosome researcher and structural biologist, president of the Royal Society and Nobel Prize winner for chemistry in 2009
  • Robin Lovell-Badge, embryologist, group leader at The Francis Crick Institute in London
  • Dominique Brossard, science and risk communication researcher, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Session I: Advances in Genome Editing: Promise and Readiness

Session II: Assessing the Security Dimensions Associated with Specific Applications of Genome Editing Technologies

Session III: Strategies for Addressing Potential Security Risks of Genome Editing

Session IV: Mapping Potential Security Risks to Mitigation Strategies

Session V: Public Communication and Engagement on Potential Security Risks of Genome Editing Applications

Session VI: The Way Ahead

The event takes place in cooperation between the European Academies Science Advisory Council, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the InterAcademy Partnership, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation.

Attached files

  • Detailed Program - Workshop on Biosecurity

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