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Otago Genetics Experts to Help Facilitate NZ Gene Editing Conversation

Thursday, 17 November 2016

‘The revolution occurring in gene editing technology is happening quickly and has significant implications for us to consider as New Zealanders’ – so says the Royal Society of New Zealand, which has kicked off a vital discussion about the gene editing revolution and its implications for New Zealand.

The Society has appointed a multidisciplinary panel of NZ’s leading experts to consider the implications of gene-editing technologies for New Zealand, including the research, ethical, social, legal, regulatory, environmental and economic considerations.  This panel will also consider New Zealand’s unique cultural perspectives.

Five of the panel members are Otago academics: Prof. Peter Dearden, Prof. Mark Henaghan, Prof. Lisa Matisoo Smith, Prof. Stephen Robertson, and Dr. Phil Wilcox.

“The panel seeks to inform public debate by providing an independent evidence-driven assessment of what the implications of the huge expansion in the use of gene editing technologies worldwide could mean for New Zealand”, said the panel’s co-Chair, Professor Barry Scott, a Vice President of the Society and a Professor of Molecular Genetics at Massey University.

The Society has also created some great educational resources, which explain gene editing’s history, current state and future possibilities. The resources, assembled by a team of New Zealand and scientists and reviewed by international reviewers*,  include info-graphics and a video.

royal society gene

Read the Royal Society's media release about the gene editing initiative

* The contributors to the resource materials were:

Expert reference group: Professor Barry Scott FRSNZ, Professor Peter Dearden, Associate Professor Peter Fineran, Professor Neil Gemmell, Professor Emily Parker, and Professor Andrew Allan.

International reviewers: Associate Professor Rodolphe Barrangou, Dr Sue Meek, Dr Thomas Joseph Higgins, and Dr Gaetan Burgio

Expert contributors: Dr Jane Alison, Dr Donna Bond, Dr Rowland Burdon FRSNZ, Dr John Caradus FRSNZ, Dr Revel Drummond, Professor Stephen Goldson FRSNZ, Dr Goetz Laible, Associate Professor Richard Macknight, Dr Elspeth MacRae, Mr John McEwan FRSNZ, Dr Shahista Nisa, Dr Grant Smith, Professor Hamish Spencer FRSNZ, Dr Robert Weinkove.