Ismail Serageldin


Serageldin Moderates Opening Session at NAS Summit on Gene Editing

03/12/2015 | Washington DC

A three-day international Summit on Human gene Editing co-hosted by The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, U.S. National Academy of Medicine, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the U.K.'s Royal Society, convened global experts to discuss the scientific, ethical, and governance issues associated with recent advances in human gene-editing research. Serageldin moderated the opening session  titled Context Through Three Lenses: Scientific, Historical, Legal . Speakers on the panel were  Klaus Rajewsky, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine; Daniel J. Kevles, New York University Law School;  Alta Charo, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

In his opening remarks entitled “Editing Our Genes: From the Pursuit of Knowledge to seeking Wisdom in Application” Serageldin maintained: "not everything that is technically feasible is ethically desirable….. But we must recognize that humans played god when they domesticated plants and animals. and continue to do so every time they turn on the electric lights at night.”

Concluding his remarks Serageldin said,

"There is no limit to human imagination and ingenuity, and the future is truly open ended.  But to approach the deployment of our new discoveries with a modicum of wisdom, it is important to articulate our ethical framework well, and first inform, then involve the public in decision-making.  So to help our societies better cope with the rapidly changing technological scene we need to combine the knowledge of the natural sciences, with the insights of the social sciences and the wisdom of the humanities.  When we explore the new landscape before us with these combined three lenses, we may see the benefits of the applications of these new technologies with a new eye."

Serageldin is a member in the Committee studying Human Gene Editing: Scientific, Medical and Ethical Considerations that will examine  the clinical, ethical, legal, and social implications of the use of human genome editing technologies in biomedical research and medicine.

The event received vast media coverage including quotes from Seragledin’s speech.


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