A Faith and Science Workshop on Ethical Issues in Human Germ-line Editing

  • God and Human Genetics Conference SLC 2017

 October 6-7, 2017

Early Bird Registration Opens June 1st

Conference Information

The focus of the dialogue will be "Ethical Issues in Human Germ-line Editing".  We will be presenting on the current science of CRISPR Cas-9 technology, and the ethical issues surrounding its application from a theological perspective.  

  • Dates:  Friday and Saturday, October 6-7, 2017
  • Location: Episcopal Conference Center of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT
  • Friday, October 6th, 5:00pm to 9:00pm
  • Saturday, October 7th, 8:00am to 5:00pm

What is CRISPR Cas-9?

Link to TED Talk by Geneticist Dr. Jennifer Doudna who co-invented a groundbreaking new technology for editing genes, called CRISPR-Cas9. The tool allows scientists to make precise edits to DNA strands, which could lead to treatments for genetic diseases ... but could also be used to create so-called "designer babies." Doudna reviews how CRISPR-Cas9 works — and asks the scientific community to pause and discuss the ethics of this new tool.

Toward Responsible Human Genome Editing


Article published in JAMA  April 10, 2017

Report from the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine

Human Genome Editing, Science, Ethics, and Governance

NPR Fresh Air 1-12-17

New Gene-Editting Techniques Hold the Promise of Altering the Fundamentals of Life

Listen now

"God and Human Suffering: Conversations on 21st Century Genetics and Our Shared Future"

Join us for presentations and conversations in Salt Lake City October 6-7, 2017, as we engage in a multi-disciplinary exploration of these and other questions facing us today.  What is our shared mission as people of science, ethics, and faith? What is the role of recent dialogue regarding germ-line editing and in the development of regulations that both promote the alleviation of suffering, and protect the inherent diversity of our planet?  Bring your perspectives and experiences to share with other like-minded people in this unique opportunity to listen, share, network, and collaborate.

The realms of faith and science have often been portrayed in American society as either antagonistic or irreconcilable.  But in many of the world’s religions there can be found a common ground between the two that is both mutually informing and edifying.  Scientists have often described a sense of wonder or awe in the midst of research.  People of faith often describe the same experience in the practice of their faith. Recent advances in scientific research continue to challenge our understanding of the physical world, our role as one species in that world, and religion’s role as an interpreter of meaning.

We now have the ability to permanently change the genetic make-up of our human species.  If diversity is a founding principle of God’s Creation, how has our role as stewards of that Creation been impacted by the latest in genetic technology?  The alleviation of human suffering is a central mission of both medical research and Christian ethics.  Through the latest break-throughs in scientific research, we now have a tool that can permanently alter the human germ-line in ways that could alleviate human suffering as never before.  What could possibly go wrong?  Before we use this tool bioethicists, scientists, and theologians have called for a “pause.”  What might be some of the unintended consequences of permanently limiting the inherent diversity of not only the human species, but of any species of life on Earth?  What harm might we avoid causing our shared future if we were to imagine together the costs and benefits of implementing the latest technologies in germ-line editing?

Saturday Breakout Session Topics

  • Faith-based Genetic Counseling
  • Ethics of Genetic Enhancement
  • Social Implications of Limited Resources
  • Safety of These Technologies


Keynote Speakers

Workshop Organizers

"The societal opportunities and challenges of genome editing "

by Dana Carroll and R. Alta Charo, published by Genome Biology (2015)

RadioWest Podcast: The Gene 

Link to Podcast by Doug Fabrizio and Siddhartha Mukherjee. Friday, Nov 18, 2016, the writer and oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee is our guest. He’s written a book that tells the epic tale of our quest to unravel the human genome. It’s the story of a long lineage of scientists—from Mendel, to Darwin, Watson, Crick, and countless others—and their efforts to understand the workings of the very threads of our existence. But how, Mukherjee wonders, can we best apply that knowledge? And what does it mean to be human when we can read and write our own genetic information? (Rebroadcast)

Other News on Gene-Editing