OCT 03, 2019 6:00 AM PDT

CRISPR Regulations: Rewriting DNA and Rethinking GMOs

Presented at: CRISPR 2019
C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
  • Policy Analyst, Innovative Genomics Institute, University of California, Berkeley
      Dr. Lea Witkowsky is a Policy Analyst at the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), a non-profit research partnership between UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, dedicated to improving and applying genome engineering to solve some of humanity's greatest challenges. Lea has a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Willamette University and received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2016, where she studied mechanisms of gene regulation and CRISPR-based gene editing in human cells. She joined the IGI in September 2017 to work on science policy and help shape the IGI's engagement activities. Lea runs a monthly ethics discussion group that brings together life scientists, social scientists, lawyers, and ethicists. She aims to inspire and facilitate scientifically informed ethical discussions about genome editing through communications with regulators and policymakers and by convening international events that feature diverse perspectives.


    First discovered as a genome-editing tool just seven years ago, CRISPR systems have already changed the face of basic research, allowing researchers to alter the DNA of hundreds of organisms for research purposes. As the technology advances, real-world applications are on the horizon– the first clinical trials to treat genetic diseases with CRISPR have begun this year, and the first genome-edited crop is scheduled for commercial release in 2020. With such rapid advancement, how do the products of CRISPR technology fit into the current regulatory system? This talk will give an overview of US biotechnology policy and regulation with a focus on biotech plants. It will compare approaches to regulating GMOs, and ask, how can this history and social context help us think about what is needed for this new generation of genome-edited organisms?


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