Advances in genome editing technologies have enormous implications for the health and well-being of society and the environment. Genome editing tools, such as CRISPR/Cas9, enable scientists and clinicians to make faster, easier, and more f precise changes in the DNA of microbes, plants, animals, and humans. Despite the promise to improve medicine, agriculture, and conservation, among other applications, the rise and ease of use of new genome editing technologies has fueled debates about their utility and safety. The advances are outpacing the capability of domestic and international security communities to coordinate and develop evidence-based policies.

To contribute to these discussions, the InterAcademy Partnership (the global network of academies of sciences and medicine), the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the European Academies Science Advisory Council, and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, convened an international workshop to explore the potential security concerns posed by genome editing technologies.  This workshop brought together experts across the globe in genetic engineering, security studies, and public policy to discuss mechanisms, policies, and strategies to mitigate or prevent potential misuse.  The need for international dialogue is particularly important because of the rapid development and wide-spread use of genome editing tools in countries with various, sometimes divergent, regulations and governance of research. Workshop participants explored near- middle- and long-term security concerns – relating to intentional misuse – that may arise from these applications. Participants also discussed technical, operational, regulatory and governance strategies that may aid the scientific and security communities in preventing or mitigating those security concerns. A report summarizing the workshop discussions will be published by the InterAcademy Partnership.

This workshop was kindly supported and hosted by the Volkswagen Foundation Additional support is being provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Please join the conversation online at #GeneEdit_Security