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KQ Private View: CUT + PASTE, Explore the Building Blocks of Life

23 February 2023 @ 8:30 am - 10:00 am

Join us for this ground breaking private view exploring some of the most challenging questions that will need answers this century. There will be hot drinks, pastries and presentations from leading scientist and Crick researcher Güneş Taylor and the Creative Producer of the exhibition, Ruth Garde.

Cut + Paste will explore the ethical issues surrounding genome editing and its potential applications, inviting visitors to reflect on questions including:
● Should genome editing be used to avoid or treat ‘severe’ conditions? If so, who gets to decide which conditions are ‘severe’?
● If genome editing in plants or animals could help to reduce hunger, malnutrition or climate change, would you support it?
● Should genome editing be used to create human ‘enhancements’? How can ‘enhancement’ be defined?
● Genome editing has the power to shape the future. Whose vision of the future should it be?

Through a series of hands-on activities created by The Liminal Space, visitors to one of Europe’s largest biomedical research institutes will be given a glimpse of future science and society. Visitors will be encouraged to share their thoughts and reflect on how scientific tools might be used in different scenarios, today and in years to come.

The exhibition will take place within sight of laboratories where researchers are already using genome editing technologies every day to study health and disease, including fertility, brain development, cancer, tuberculosis, malaria, COVID-19, and many more topics.

Genome editing is when scientists make changes to DNA, a long molecule that carries genetic information and the instructions for constructing and operating a living organism. Editing DNA helps scientists understand the role of different genes and has already been proved to be a useful tool, for example, it has led to new treatments for certain conditions and the creation of disease-resistant crops.

Over recent years, new genome editing tools have been developed which allow scientists to alter DNA more quickly, easily and accurately. These technologies hold vast potential to improve human health and the world around us, but they also come with all sorts of ethical questions.

Robin Lovell-Badge, principal group leader at the Crick and international expert on genome editing says, “As technology and science progresses, things that were previously impossible or in the realm of science-fiction, are now reality. But important questions remain about how comfortable we are as a society for genome editing to be used and where the line should be drawn. These questions are not just for scientists to answer, as the decisions will impact all of us.”

Ruth Garde, creative producer for Cut + Paste, says, “Genome editing will be a new and unfamiliar topic for a lot of people. Cut + Paste offers a really engaging and approachable opportunity to explore it, which is so important – not only because of the ethical dilemmas it raises about how to tackle current and future health challenges, but also because it asks questions about what it means to be human in a time of advancing scientific technologies.”

To register, please use the Eventbrite link here