Global Citizens’ Debate on Genome Editing and Research

January 2021 - October 2021
On the initiative of the University of Canberra (Center for Deliberative Democracy)
Running workshops at national then global level, coordinating with research teams to produce a post-debate documentary.
As part of the international scientific debate on genome editing and the ethical and social issues that the practice raises, Missions Publiques and its partners are giving a say to the people most affected by the question – citizens. We are organizing a global debate where the goal is to come up with new ideas and establish a shared view on the issue, which is decisive for our society’s future.


For several years now, and particularly since the breakthrough method for altering the genomic system – CRIPRS – emerged, the scientific community has been divided about this technique which raises a series of ethical and social questions. Regardless of the organisms concerned – humans, animals, or plants – regulations on the practice are difficult to understand and vary from one country to another, and are thus the subject of international debate. The UN and an array of international organizations have called for an expert dialogue and further scientific research into the impacts on our society. In February 2020, the World Health Organization launched a public consultation on the issues the practice raises, asking citizens to give their view.

In line with this global momentum, Missions Publiques and our partners wanted to hear civil society’s view on this controversial issue, which is crucial for the future of scientific research and for humanity.


To give this debate an international focus, Missions Publiques intends to bring other countries and partners onboard. The goal is to set up a two-phase consultation with themed workshops in six different countries then a global dialogue with a hundred or so participants from around the world.


Our approach is in phase with current scientific concerns and aims to work with citizens and make their voices heard on the international stage. Firstly, themed discussions will be held in six different countries to identify the avenues for discussion and development on this topic. Then, 100 “citizens of the world” will take these conclusions to produce a shared opinion on the future of research on genome editing.


events in different countries
citizens of the world


This project will lead to proposals for legislative or regulatory measures or referendum ideas drafted by citizens (originally planned for April 2020 but postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic).


  • A citizens’ opinion.
  • A documentary (Genepool productions).