Genome editing is a powerful form of recombinant DNA technology. Its contemporary emergence critically depends on the alignment and intersection of a range of actors, resources and institutions. The panel will explore how these are being brought together in novel innovation and governance networks.
Genome editing is a powerful form of recombinant DNA technology that is being heralded as making the precise genetic modification of living systems easier, cheaper and faster. It builds on the prior development of a range of other biotechnologies, most notably gene therapy, in terms of science, clinical development, commercialisation and governance. However, the contemporary trajectories of gene editing also require, and are embedded in, a range of imagined futures. As particular visions gain traction, governments, NGOs, charities, major pharmaceutical companies, small biotech firms, academic scientists, regulators and others are being enrolled into novel innovation and governance networks that are shaping the translation of genome editing in a number of human and non-human fields of application. The papers in these sessions explore different imaginaries of genome editing across a variety of fields of application and territories from legal oversight of genome editing in Canada to scientists applying CRISPR to bio-engineer wheat in the UK. These very different examples illustrate how particular visions for the future of genome editing conjure into being different alignments and intersections of actors, resources, and institutions, create new loci of responsibility and accountability, enact different notions of economic, moral, and social value, and offer different potentials for contestation and controversy.