News Release 

Informing genome editing governance through global citizen deliberation

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Research News

Recent calls for more inclusive participation in the governance of genome editing technologies and their applications - particularly by global citizens - are largely unaddressed. To this end, John Dryzek and colleagues propose in a Policy Forum the creation of a global citizens' assembly, composed of a minimum of 100 lay citizens from around the world, informed by experts, who would explore and deliberate the implications of genome editing technologies and regulatory principles. Advances in genome editing technologies hold great potential for human health and societal benefit. However, they are also rife with risks and ethical challenges. As well, governance regarding genome editing's uses has not kept pace systematically or internationally; practices deemed unacceptable or unethical in one country, for example, may not be viewed so stringently in another. Thus, genome editing technology governance - which has inherent global implications that are not constrained by international boundaries - lacks consistency and varies worldwide. "Just as human rights are generally recognized as a matter of global concern, so, too should technologies that may impinge on the question of what it means to be human," write Dryzek et al. The authors suggest that deliberation by global citizens should play a role as this global governance vacuum is filled and discuss how organized global citizen deliberation could be achieved. The global citizen assembly they envision would be recruited from around the world. The inclusion of such a forum would not only improve the legitimacy of public decisions but also bridge gaps between community values and provide a more thorough judgment of critical issues, improving overall governance of the technology, say the authors.

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