The Association for Responsible Research and Innovation in Genome Editing (ARRIGE) initiative was launched on March 23, 2018 in Paris. Its objective is to promote a global governance of genome editing through a comprehensive setting for all stakeholders (including academics, researchers, clinicians, public institutions, private companies, patient organizations and other NGOs, regulators, citizens, communication media, governmental agencies and decision makers) to foster the development of genome editing technologies within a safe and ethical framework for individuals and for our societies. ARRIGE will allow stakeholders from all continents to come together and find a common ground to address the multiple issues raised by these technologies.
The technological “revolution” of genome editing techniques, i.e. techniques that allow for specific addition, removal, or modification of DNA sequences, such as CRISPR-Cas9, and its recent developments including functional modulation of gene expression and RNA targeting, has led to a profusion of scientific literature and to the continuing emergence of new applications with a huge potential impact on humans, animals and the environment as well as high economic stakes.
The use of genome editing technology must therefore be considered in the light of the regulation that currently exists and oversees it, especially since performing genome editing with the new tools is now much easier, cheaper and faster and thus within the reach of wider number of individuals.
Kick-off meeting and next steps
ARRIGE Kick-off meeting gathered around 160 participants from 35 countries and led to the common decision, adopted by the majority of delegates in Paris, to create a non-for-profit organization. This association will be a vehicle for meetings and outreach with the objective of:
Fostering an inclusive debate with a risk-management approach, taking into account the human, environmental, animal and economic issues;
Getting involved in governance of genome editing technology with governmental and intergovernmental stakeholders;
Creating an ethical tool box and informal guidance for genome editing technology users, regulators, governance and the civil society at large;
Developing a robust particular reflection on the role of the lay public in this debate and the necessity for improved public engagement.
UNESCO has offered its support by proposing to welcome ARRIGE meetings in its facilities and assist the progress of potential discussions regarding governance of genome editing technology at the international level.
CRISPR–Cas9: A European position on genome editing. François Hirsch, Yves Lévy & Hervé Chneiweiss. Nature 541, 30 (05 January 2017) doi:10.1038/541030c
Fostering responsible research with genome editing technologies: a European perspective. Chneiweiss H, Hirsch F, Montoliu L, Müller AM, Fenet S, Abecassis M, Merchant J, Baertschi B, Botbol-Baum M, Houghton JA, Kritikos M, Mifsud J, Bartnik E, Rath J, Druml C, Friedrich B, Carvalho AS, Lanzerath D, Saint-Raymond A. Transgenic Research 2017 Oct;26(5):709-713. doi: 10.1007/s11248-017-0028-z. Epub 2017 Jul 20.
Interested in responsible gene editing? Join the (new) club. Martin Enserink. Science, 27 March 2018.