01 Dec 2021
Genome editing and farmed animal breeding: social and ethical issues
This report examines the social and ethical issues raised by the potential use of genome editing technologies in farmed animal breeding.
We are partnering with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and UK Research and Innovation's (UKRI) Sciencewise programme to run a public dialogue exploring genome editing in farmed animals.
Genome editing - known commonly as ‘gene editing’ - is the precise, targeted, alteration of a DNA sequence in a living cell. It enables changes to the genome - which aim to secure certain physical traits in new generations of farmed animals - to be made much faster and with greater precision than other types of genetic technologies, or through traditional breeding methods.
Research in this area is well advanced, and the UK Government have announced plans to amend the regulation of some genome edited organisms, including plants and animals, which could pave the way for the introduction of genome editing into the food and farming system.
The dialogue is expected to involve around 80 members of the public and is taking place between May and July 2022. It is being overseen by an advisory group chaired by Sarah Mukherjee MBE, CEO of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment, and former BBC Environment Correspondent. A report of the findings will be published in September.
Research consultancy Basis Social have been appointed to deliver this public dialogue. Basis Social previously delivered our Nuffield Council on Bioethics commissioned rapid online dialogue in 2021.
We will update this page with further information as the dialogue gets underway.
Read our press release.
Pete is part of the senior management team. He is responsible for leading Council projects and inquiries and speaking on behalf the Council on a range of ethical issues. Before joining the Council in 2011, he worked on scientific development and bioethics at the Department of Health, where he led the Human Genetics Commission, and on assisted reproduction and embryo research policy for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
Claudia undertakes research to support the Council’s work. She also monitors developments in different areas of interest to the Council. Before joining the Council, she has been a research assistant in the field of cognitive neuroscience and completed a BA in Philosophy and an MSc in Clinical, Social and Cognitive Neuroscience.