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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Adopt a moratorium on heritable genome editing – Nature (Eric Lander, et al | March 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 15, 2019
 

We call for a global moratorium on all clinical uses of human germline editing — that is, changing heritable DNA (in sperm, eggs or embryos) to make genetically modified children.

By ‘global moratorium’, we do not mean a permanent ban. Rather, we call for the establishment of an international framework in which nations, while retaining the right to make their own decisions, voluntarily commit to not approve any use of clinical germline editing unless certain conditions are met.

To begin with, there should be a fixed period during which no clinical uses of germline editing whatsoever are allowed. As well as allowing for discussions about the technical, scientific, medical, societal, ethical and moral issues that must be considered before germline editing is permitted, this period would provide time to establish an international framework.

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Why were scientists silent over gene-edited babies? – Nature (Natalie Kofler | February 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on March 12, 2019
 

To be successful as researchers, we must be able to think through the impacts of our work on society and speak up when necessary, says Natalie Kofler.

This story not only allows us to ponder the shocking revelations in this bewildering controversy (we’ve linked to the related items below), it’s an opportunity to reflect on Researcher Responsibility 14 in the Australian Code (2018) and the direction for researchers to take action to support a culture of responsible research in their field.

Millions were shocked to learn of the birth of gene-edited babies last year, but apparently several scientists were already in the know. Chinese researcher He Jiankui had spoken with them about his plans to genetically modify human embryos intended for pregnancy. His work was done before adequate animal studies and in direct violation of the international scientific consensus that CRISPR–Cas9 gene-editing technology is not ready or appropriate for making changes to humans that could be passed on through generations.
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Scholars who have spoken publicly about their discussions with He described feeling unease. They have defended their silence by pointing to uncertainty over He’s intentions (or reassurance that he had been dissuaded), a sense of obligation to preserve confidentiality and, perhaps most consistently, the absence of a global oversight body. Others who have not come forward probably had similar rationales. But He’s experiments put human health at risk; anyone with enough knowledge and concern could have posted to blogs or reached out to their deans, the US National Institutes of Health or relevant scientific societies, such as the Association for Responsible Research and Innovation in Genome Editing (see page 440). Unfortunately, I think that few highly established scientists would have recognized an obligation to speak up.
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I am convinced that this silence is a symptom of a broader scientific cultural crisis: a growing divide between the values upheld by the scientific community and the mission of science itself.
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Wake-up call from Hong Kong – Science (Victor J. Dzau, et al | December 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on February 12, 2019
 

The Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, held in Hong Kong last month, was rocked by the revelation from a researcher from Shenzhen that twins were born whose healthy embryonic genomes had been edited to confer resistance to HIV. Despite widespread condemnation by the summit organizing committee, world scientific academies, and prominent scientific leaders that such research was “deeply disturbing” and “irresponsible,” and the launch of an investigation in China into the researcher’s actions, it is apparent that the ability to use CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the human genome has outpaced nascent efforts by the scientific and medical communities to confront the complex ethical and governance issues that they raise. The current guidelines and principles on human germline genome editing are based on sound scientific and ethical principles. However, this case highlights the urgent need to accelerate efforts to reach international agreement upon more specific criteria and standards that have to be met before human germline editing would be deemed permissible.

“We need…broad agreement on…criteria for human germline genome editing research…”

Together, we call upon international academies to quickly convene international experts and stakeholders to produce an expedited report that will inform the development of these criteria and standards to which all genome editing in human embryos for reproductive purposes must conform, and to engage scientific bodies around the world in this effort. The United States National Academies are willing to lead in this endeavor. Academies are well-positioned to convene needed international expertise and to help foster broad scientific consensus on the responsible pursuit of human genome editing research and clinical applications. We strongly believe that international consensus on such standards is important to avoid the potential for researchers to rationalize the justification or seek out convenient locales for conducting dangerous and unethical experimentation. The establishment of international scientific standards is not intended to substitute for national regulation but could inform such regulation.

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25% researchers worldwide unaware, confused what is plagiarism: Survey – Business Standard (Press Trust of India | November 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on February 3, 2019
 

Majority reported that reusing text from their own previously published study is not plagiarism, irrespective of whether the study is cited

Findings like this suggest that research integrity professional development activities and resources should include tips and guidance on plagiarism and self-plagiarism

At least 25 per cent of researchers worldwide have a poor understanding of and ethics, according to a new

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The report titled “Perspectives on Academic Publishing: Global Report 2018″ provides insights into various aspects of research publication such as challenges authors face in manuscript preparation, communicating with journals and responding to peer reviewer comments.
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Over 7000 researchers from India, Republic of Korea, Japan, and were interviewed for the conducted by Editage, a global firm.
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