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Network Norfolk

BiohackingCFNorwich lecture on bio-hacking and Christian ethics

It is now easy to modify DNA and to edit the genes of humans. How should we feel about individual 'biohackers' trying to modify genes to improve their lifestyle? What about illness and disability? This lecture on March 25 will explore some of these challenges.

Human gene editing is a disruptive technology that could change the development of human society over the next few decades.  Using new and readily accessible techniques, it is now easy to modify DNA and to edit the genes of bacteria, plants and animals - even of humans. But is this just too easy? Are there adequate constraints regarding the safety and ethics of these powerful new procedures? How should we feel about individual “biohackers” trying to modify their own genes, for example to improve intelligence and increase athletic ability, or to compensate for an unhealthy lifestyle?  
The ethical questions raised by gene editing make us think more deeply about ourselves, our bodies and our role in society.  What do we mean by “well-being”? What is our attitude to illness and disability? 

Dr Alexander Massmann from the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University will explore some of the social and ethical challenges that arise from a dialogue between genetics, medical science and theology. Gene editing may have many beneficial medical applications, but we will need to set some ethical boundaries on the use of this technology.  To what extent is it justifiable to change our own genetic composition and that of other organisms on the planet?  How should we respond to these questions from a Christian perspective?  There will be plenty of opportunity for discussion following Dr Massmann's presentation.

Dr Massmann is a postdoctoral researcher in theology and science at the University of Cambridge. He is particularly interested in the dialogue between theology and evolutionary biology. His bioethical work on gene editing addresses a particularly topical issue that is in the news almost every week.

Event details

Monday March 25
7.30 - 8.45
The Meeting Place, Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street, Norwich NR2 2BJ (car park access off Essex St, NR2 2BL)
All are welcome to this open lecture and discussion; no booking is required.
There will be a (voluntary) retiring collection.

For further information contact Professor Nick Brewin (07901 884114);  
Click here to visit the Science and Faith in Norfolk website

Article printed from at 10:20 on 20 February 2019