Team:Paris Saclay/Human Practices

Human Practices


Synthetic biology isn’t easy to explain to non-scientists. But explaining the CRISPR-Cas9 technology is way harder. Not only because those matters are complex, but also because we still do not know precisely the consequences of such technologies. If the CRISPR-Cas9 technology is undoubtedly a revolution, the seism affects other fields, interconnected with science (ethics, law and economy as an example).

As our project use the CRISPR-Cas9 technology, we looked for its potential huge consequences. It seemed important for us to collect the opinion of scientists, politics, patent attorney, but also of general audience. As we worked on the CRISPR-Cas9 technology, we discovered how overwhelming it could be, and ask ourselves how we could imagine a responsible way to work with this technology.

Thus, we tried to find an answer in the concept of responsible research and innovation (RRI). We believe that this concept could help iGEM teams to think about responsibility in their project, and have the strongest link possible between their project and the societal need they want to reach. In other words, we wanted to bring innovation and societal need closer. Considering our project on the CRISPR-Cas9 technology, we believed the concept could give us the good questions we should ask ourselves to build a responsible project.

This lead us to investigate about the CRISPR-Cas9 technology and its major consequences in several fields. We tried to draw the consequences and think about what would be a responsible use for scientists but also considering the societal issues. Our Human Practices followed two goals: researching among stakeholders what would be a responsible use, and popularising science for public. To see our researches on the societal issues of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology, click here.

As there is no general responsible rules than can be applied to all project we developed a "Responsible Research and Innovation test": this test works as a feed-back for each iGEM projects, in order to improve the responsibility in the long term. Thus, we gave this test to iGEM teams from all over the world, and collected their answers, in order to have the best picture of the respect of RRI principles by iGEM teams.

A feed-back on the responsibility in a project on the CRISPR-Cas9 technology can give a personal experience about the problematics the project met, and a quick overview on how we could deal with them. To see how we think about the RRI Test, our answer to it, and the answers of iGEM teams all over the world, click here.

See the RRI test: here