Should We Hold Back the Reins on Biotechnology? with Chris Gunter

Chris Gunter, Associate Professor, Emory University, School of Medicine


Listen (2:28) A chance to go beyond the science

Listen (2:58) No consensus emerged

Listen (5:00) Steven Pinker: let's stay out of the way of biomedical research

Listen (3:56) What was your job as a delegate?

Listen (4:14) Can we hold back human germline modification?

Listen (5:28) Autism: a case in point

A very unique biotechnology event took place this week.

BEINGS 2015, or the Biotech and the Ethical Imagination Global Summit, was held at The Tabernacle, a former church turned concert hall in Atlanta, Georgia. The venue was not the only unusual thing for a summit about science. Speakers at the meeting included a well known linguist, a famous Canadian novelist, and Catholic rector along with professors of bioethics, law, and, of course, biology.

The summit was not particularly about science, but about biotech in a cultural context. Speakers pursued some of the most daunting questions humans face: Should we ever try to slow science down? Is this even possible? And if it is, who should be the regulators?

Chris Gunter is an Associate Professor at Emory University, host of the event. She not only attended the meeting but was one of the delegates who took part in a session after the main conference. The delegates were tasked with arriving at a consensus on standards to guide the future of biotechnology. That’s all.

“There’s never been an event like this before,” says Chris, a former editor at Nature, at the outset of today's show.

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