Op-Ed

Promotional logo for the global summit, featuring an illustration of a double helix positioned horizontally, with "2015" inside two strands, and abstract shapes of a globe.

Recent developments in bioengineering promise the possibility of new diagnostic and treatment strategies, novel industrial processes, and innovative approaches to thorny problems in fields such as nutrition, agriculture, and biomanufacturing. As modern genetics has matured and developed technologies of increasing power, debates over risk assessments and proper applications of the technology, and over who should have decision-making power over such issues, have become more prominent. Recently, some scientists have advocated that ethicists “step out of the way,” whereas others have called for greater ethical scrutiny, or even for moratoria on some lines of research1,2. As a community, however, we must together determine the proper application of these powerful biological tools. This paper, a consensus statement of a group of interdisciplinary delegates drawn from the top biotech-producing countries of the world, offers a set of ethical principles to contribute to the ethical conversation about human cellular biotechnological research moving forward.

In May 2015, a group of over 140 delegates from the top biotech-producing countries of the world gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA for a three-day conference entitled...