By Dr. Aditi Mankad, Principal Research Scientist, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

On November 3, I had the pleasure of participating in an interactive event organized by the Outreach Network for Gene Drive Research at iGEM Foundation’s 2023 Grand Jamboree. The session, held as part of the event’s offshoot Responsibility Conference, focused on the responsible field evaluation of gene drives and tackled complex topics, including how to effectively communicate technically challenging research and the nuances of ethical practices within the field.

I shared the stage with speakers from various fields: Claudia Emerson, Institute on Ethics & Policy for Innovation (IEPI),Tessa Alexanian, Council on Strategic Risks, as well as Naima Sykes and Delphine Thizy, Target Malaria. This panel came together to present practical insights on ethical and social considerations for field evaluations of gene drives, drawing on panelists’ diverse range of expertise in ethics and stakeholder engagement.