Technologies are poised to alter the meaning of being human. Genome editing, especially of the human germline, raises fundamental questions of the dignity and integrity of human life. This scientific and technological frontier is also a moral frontier, with implications for all life on the planet. It demands inclusive and far-reaching deliberation drawing upon a wide range of human knowledge, experience and moral imagination. Established in September 2020, the Global Observatory for Genome Editing seeks to expand the range of questions arising at the frontiers of emerging biotechnologies and explore and encourage alternatives. It fosters international, interdisciplinary, and cross-sectoral dialogue among communities that have not been in a position to reflect upon each others’ perspectives on issues that concern all humanity.
The Global Observatory for Genome Editing is a grant-funded project directed by leading scholars of science, technology, and society based at three American research universities. The Observatory initiative grew out of a meeting held at Harvard in April, 2017. At this meeting, a consensus emerged that dominant approaches to evaluating the meaning of novel biotechnologies were too narrow and insufficiently cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral. The Observatory aims to address these shortcomings.
"The Global observatory - an international consortium of experts from many different fields in many different countries - would go a long way toward making this shift [engaging the public]."
The New York Times Editorial Board