In the past decade, CRISPR/Cas-based genome editing technologies have taken the world of molecular biology and genetic engineering research by storm. With their adaptation to a variety of model and non-model organisms since 2012, CRISPR/Cas-based tools have pioneered new areas of research. This was recently recognized by the Swedish Nobel committee, with the 2020 Nobel prize in Chemistry being awarded to Prof. Jennifer Doudna and Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier. From basic biology to crop improvement to therapeutics to diagnostics, if a system has DNA and/or RNA at its core, CRISPR/Cas may be the solution! It is therefore time for Indian researchers to come together and discuss diverse aspects of this cutting-edge technology.
iCRISPR-2021 is a three-day conference with a target audience of students, researchers, policy makers and industrial attendees from across India. The goals of the conference are two-fold: (1) to build awareness of the CRISPR/Cas-related research activities that are currently underway in India, and (2) create a platform for Indian researchers to discuss their work, exchange ideas, and network. iCRISPR-2021 will host eminent speakers working in the area of CRISPR/Cas from academic and industrial organizations from different parts of India including IGIB, NCBS, IITs, UoD, UoH, THSTI, CMC-Vellore, ThermoFisher Scientific, Reliance Industries Limited, and others. The conference will also have e-poster sessions and oral presentations selected from abstracts.
The scientific talks and discussions will focus on the following Thematic Areas:
CRISPR/Cas in Therapeutics and Diagnostics
CRISPR/Cas in Agriculture
CRISPR/Cas in Fundamental research
Ethics in CRISPR/Cas and Genome Engineering
Ethical concerns regarding the editing of living organisms have existed since the advent of molecular cloning and recombinant DNA techniques. With the introduction of CRISPR/Cas into the mix, new dimensions of genetic interventions seem within reach, be it for animal experimentation, human health, livestock breeding, crop variegation to gene drives. This has in turn revived and raised profound ethical questions. To shed light and create awareness on the ethics of genome editing in the CRISPR/Cas era, we are organising panel discussions which will include various stakeholders as panelists: scientists, policymakers, representatives of patient groups, ecologists, agriculturists, industrialists, NGOs, etc. The objective is to discuss the existing ethics framework(s) for genome editing in India and address pertinent questions in diverse areas of application.