A panel of experts shared their vision for the future of gene technology with the public and key decision makers in Canberra this week.
Presenting a public forum at the Shine Dome before a private session for Parliamentarians at Parliament House, the panel included:
- Dr Raj Bhula – Australian Gene Technology Regulator
- Dr Jeremy Brownlie – molecular biologist, Griffith University
- Dr TJ Higgins – agricultural biotechnologist, CSIRO
- Judith Jones – legal academic and Chair, Australian Gene Technology Ethics and Community Consultative Committee
- Dr Darren Saunders – cancer biologist, UNSW
The panel spoke about the breadth of new and emerging gene technologies across multiple disciplines, and their implications for society, legislators and regulators.
Recent achievements in gene technology discussed included personalised medicine; reducing food waste and chemical use on farms through genetically modified non-browning mushrooms and disease-resistant crops; and engineering pig organs to be safe and suitable for human transplant.
The panel also touched on the complex challenges in regulating and monitoring research around gene technology. With developments like gene drives, which allows scientists to drive a genetic change into future generations of a species, the STEM sector is working hard with regulatory bodies to ensure the advancements don’t outrun the systems and processes that regulate them.
A very special thanks to our partner, the Australian Academy of Science, which works with us to connect scientists and technologists with decision makers through the Parliamentary Friends of Science.
If you would like to attend one of our public forums, be sure to sign up for our newsletter below.