Centre for Law and Genetics

Genome Editing: Formulating an Australian Community Response


  • Prof Dianne Nicol
  • Associate Professor S Niemeyer
  • Professor J Dryzek
  • Associate Professor N Curato
  • Sonya Pemberton

Funding Source: Medical Research Futures Fund, Genomic Health Futures Mission – Ethical, Legal and Social Implications

Commencement: 2020

Project Status: Current

Project Summary

New genome editing techniques have the potential to transform health and agriculture but at the same time raise large ethical and policy questions. Community engagement with the issues is widely recognised as an essential next step, but the means of achieving this have not yet been articulated. This project will show how effective Australian community engagement can be practised, involving the establishment of a citizens’ jury composed of 24 individuals selected for diversity in social characteristics and orientations relevant to the issue of genome editing.

The jurors will have access to the best available information, hear from experts and advocates on different sides, and then deliberate among themselves on the basic principles that should underpin a public policy response. Their deliberations will be analysed using social scientific methods previously developed by the research team. The summary assessment of the citizens’ jury will be reported to government and publicised.