Public Release: 

IBS Center to host session on CRISPR genome editing in upcoming WCSJ

The Center for Genome Editing will produce a session discussing key features and developments of CRISPR, featuring 3 keynote speakers

Institute for Basic Science

Jin-Soo Kim, director of the Center for Genome Editing at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) will host a session titled "CRISPR Genome Editing in Medicine and Biotechnology" at the upcoming World Conference for Science Journalist (WCSJ) to be held in Seoul, South Korea at Coex from June 8 to 12.

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat) genome editing technology has been successfully used to create genetically modified plants and animals including non-human primates. The technology could help to battle incurable diseases like cancer and AIDs. It works by targeting genetic modifications in cells and whole organisms using programmable nucleases that target and sever infected DNA in a sequence-specific manner.

CRISPR-Cas9 is an offset of CRISPR and could be used a tool used to manipulate the DNA of plants, livestock and even humans. As this technology could potentially be revolutionary for mankind, it is not without controversy. Professor Xingxu Huang of Shanghai Tech University, who is one of the speakers in the session, is currently seeking permission from his institution's ethics committee to try to genetically modify discarded human embryos. He previously modified embryos that developed into live monkeys. The Chinese scientist recently told Nature that the technique "gives lots of potential for its application in humans."

Conversely Professor Tetsuya Ishii, from Hokkaido University, has led various policy discussions on the regulations of genetically modified organisms (GMO) and human germline editing. Professor Ishii is an expert on science policy and is currently studying bioethics, focusing particularly on the relationship between society and biotechnology.

These two prominent experts will discuss progress and share their insights into the future direction of CRISPR technology. The session will take place on June 9 at 2 PM as one of the parallel sessions and will last for approximately 90 minutes. Each keynote will end with a Q&A, enabling participants to take the discussion further.

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