This news piece in Nature reflects on recent developments in embryo research to point to the gap between the pace of scientific research and the abilities of regulatory institutions to keep up with new developments. It draws on the He Jiankui affair and the International Summits on Human Genome Editing as other examples of this problem. The author argues that the ideal solution is an agile regulatory process that can quickly respond to new developments while also being receptive to input from experts and non-experts alike.
This is the introduction to a special report from the Hastings Center on public deliberation about gene editing, specifically as it is used to modify organisms that are then released into the wild. The authors identify the lack of clear definition around the concepts of public engagement and public deliberation in the discourse surrounding gene editing, despite widespread acknowledgement of their importance. This incongruity makes clarifying specific approaches to public participation in the governance of gene editing a priority.
Nobel laureate CRISPR-developer Jennifer Doudna discusses two primary ethical concerns surrounding the technology’s use: the need for internationally recognized regulations and the need to ensure that CRISPR-derived treatments are accessible worldwide. Despite the headline, in this brief interview, Doudna provides little perspective on how the latter might happen aside from addressing it at the level of “technical and scientific issues.” She displays a faith in widespread access to genome editing technologies as a public good that would be echoed at the Third International Summit in 2023.
This piece uses the framework of anticipatory governance to analyze the existing scholarly discourse on the governance of human genome editing. The authors argue that this governance discourse almost without exception does not meet the standards of anticipatory governance and are often content to merely call for greater public participation in governance without further elaboration. They argue that implementing anticipatory governance within the space of human genome editing would be a step toward aligning its development with social needs and values.
This piece focuses on the framework of “agile governance” for precision medicine. This framework suggests that governance needs to build its capacity for responding to the pace of innovation, suggesting a reactive, backfooted approach (as opposed, for example, to the more proactive approach of “anticipatory governance” (see, David Guston's 2014 article on the topic, or the related piece by John Nelson and collaborators). Bowman et al.
STS scholar David Guston defines, clarifies, and responds to critiques of “anticipatory governance.” Anticipatory governance is one framework that has gained currency within STS for thinking about how to build the necessary social capacity to govern emerging technologies. The term originated in policy and environmental management scholarship, but it was adapted and developed by Guston and his collaborators at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (CNS-ASU).
In an analysis based largely on the proceedings of the first two International Summits on Human Genome Editing, Morgan Meyer theorizes the process of “irresponsibilization.” Much of this theorization revolves around He Jiankui’s experiments and how they spurred responses and calls for further action at the Second International Summit.