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Digging Deeper into the Responsible Application of Genomics Research

By October 17, 2018October 30th, 2018No Comments

Genome BC is pleased to announce recipients of project funding through its Societal Issues Competition. The projects announced in this second round of funding will examine societal issues related to agrifood and natural resources.

Inside every living thing is DNA — the blueprint of life. As life scientists develop innovations in genomic technologies, people and industries alike are changing how they see and interact with the world. The application of genomics in our society is challenging the status quo in health care, agricultural practices and in the management of natural resources.

Genomic technologies have the potential to significantly impact our lives.  As a result, social sciences and humanities research, encompassing the diverse areas of study relevant to genomics, is a necessary aspect of the genome sciences and essential to their responsible use and adoption in society.

Genome BC created the Societal Issues Competition as a way to identify and study the societal issues that emerge from genomics-based innovations. “It is important for British Columbia to continue to strengthen and build capacity in this area.” said Sally Greenwood, Genome BC’s Vice President of Communications and Societal Engagement.  “Projects like these concentrate solely on the societal aspects of genomics research. This work can help us better understand societal perspectives and attitudes, which in turn can help inform policy development, regulatory guidelines, and further engagement.”

Where the inaugural round of funding (in 2017) focused on societal issues related to human health, the projects in this round focus on issues that are relevant to at least one of the Agrifood and Natural Resources sectors. (forestry, agrifood, fisheries/aquaculture, energy, mining or environment).

The specific projects funded through this round of the Societal Issues Competition include:

  1. Understanding the perceived risks and benefits of gene editing in agricultural applications (Terre Satterfield, Milind Kandlikar, University of British Columbia)
  2. An international comparison of the suitability of regulatory frameworks for gene-edited crops (Milind Kandlikar, Terre Satterfield, University of British Columbia)
  3. Understanding First Nations’ values and interests related to genomics to help develop a community led educational tool (Stefania Pizzirani, Gary Bull, University of British Columbia)
  4. Examining public beliefs about the ethics of genetically modifying livestock (Daniel Weary, University of British Columbia, Adam Shiver, University of Oxford)
  5. Exploring policy implications and public perceptions of cellular agriculture as it pertains to dairy products. (Lenore Newman, University of the Fraser Valley)


About Genome British Columbia:

Genome British Columbia leads genomics innovation on Canada’s West Coast and facilitates the integration of genomics into society. A recognized catalyst for government and industry, Genome BC invests in research, entrepreneurship and commercialization in life sciences to address challenges in key sectors such as health, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, agrifood, energy, mining and environment. Genome BC partners with many national and international public and private funding organizations to drive BC’s bioeconomy.