Sharing the benefits of DNA science across social and class lines is one of the next big challenges facing genome researchers, scientists said at a Nobel conference in Stockholm today.
The meeting, entitled Genetic Revolution and its Impact on Society, is intended to “deepen the dialogue between the scientific community and the rest of society” according to the Nobel website. The first-of-its-kind gathering precedes the Dec. 10 awarding of the Nobel prizes announced in October.
Sequencing DNA, the inherited information that guides the development of humans and other organisms, with faster and cheaper technologies has opened up new opportunities for fighting disease, hunger and promoting economic well-being, scientists said. With most of the expertise in genetics centered in the academic centers of developed countries, scientists need to ensure the advances reach society’s most vulnerable, said Helga Nowotny, president of the European Research Council.
“One possibility would be that we would end up with a genetic divide,” she said in a speech at the conference. “I’m most afraid of the corrosive effects of inequalities.”
Genetics has become increasingly pervasive in both...