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Gene editing could contribute to solving some of the most pressing issues facing society including disease and hunger.


A free Royal Society of Biology event at the British Science Festival today will address the current applications and wider implications of gene editing.

An expert panel will discuss the technique's potential to help in the fight against diseases, like malaria, and improve our global food security, today from 14:00 – 15:00.

The discussions, which will take place at Swansea University, will also address the wider implications of editing genomes.

The audience will have a chance to ask the experts about this exciting technique and take part in the discussions. There will be live voting during the event to gauge public opinion.

Professor Huw Jones FRSB, Aberystwyth University, will make the case for genome editing of plants and animals in the context of improving  food security:
“To make the necessary improvements in yield, nutritional quality and resilience, crop and livestock breeding needs to utilise the most relevant tools and technologies available.

“Genome editing is one such technology that has huge potential to accelerate and focus the development of genetically-improved plants and animals.”

Professor Jones will also highlight the importance of regulation:
“Post-Brexit, the UK has an opportunity to show leadership in developing logical and evidence-based risk-assessment and regulatory policy for genome editing.”

Professor Jones will be joined on the expert panel by Professor Wendy Harwood, John Innes Centre; Dr Tony Nolan, Imperial College London; and Dr Donald Bruce, Edinethics, who will talk about the latest research on other applications of gene editing, and of its wider, ethical implications. The discussion will be chaired by Professor Melanie Welham FRSB, chief executive of the BBSRC.

This is a free event organised by the Biology, and Agriculture and Food sections of the British Science Association.