This research project, led by the IUS professor Sabina Semiz, addresses the potential and perspectives of gene editing techniques which have created headlines, enthusiasm and concern in genetic research arguably not seen since the mapping of the human gen
 

Grant for EU-Horizon 2020 Project Preparation by the Council of Ministers BH “Gene Editing and Genetic Counselling: Perspectives in Biomedicine and Bioethics” 2017-2018

This research project, led by the IUS professor Sabina Semiz, addresses the potential and perspectives of gene editing techniques which have created headlines, enthusiasm and concern in genetic research arguably not seen since the mapping of the human genome at the turn of the century. The technique employs a modified form of the "molecular scissors" gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9, which has transformed genetics research since its power was first demonstrated in 2012. Importantly, the new technique could allow doctors to make changes to people's DNA, alter the molecular machines, and treat genetic diseases.

In addition, genetic testing and interpretation of genetic data represents a tremendous opportunity but also a new challenge for society. The public health care system will increasingly be asked to provide interpretation and counselling related to genetic information that has been generated privately and will need to satisfy the legitimate curiosity of participants in large-scale population genetic research. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests emerged in the early 2000s that allowed consumers to access their genetic information often without an adequate physician’s referral. As a result of this scientific progress, genetic testing has been accompanied by the number of the ethical dilemmas and emerging questions regarding an interpretation of the genetic tests and significance of providing the genetic counseling upon genome analysis.

Importantly, this project includes the public engagement exercises that will go beyond informing and consulting audiences, and will rather promote the knowledge society needs for emerging technologies. It would also endorse the upholding of bioethical principles in scientific research in gene editing and thus, creating awareness among various stakeholders, including the health care providers, government institutions, scientific communities, and general public. Furthermore, this MCP grant will also support celebration of the World Bioethics Day in October 2018 that will be organized by Prof. Dr. Semiz, Head of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, for the third year in a row at our University.

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