Bioethics Advisory Committee
Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC)
Consultation Period:
03 Jun 2024 - 16 Aug 2024
Status:
Open

Detailed Description

1. The Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC) has developed a public consultation paper on the ethical, legal, and social issues arising from Human Nuclear Genome Editing (HNGE) and invites public feedback from 3 June 2024 to 16 August 2024.

Summary of Key Issues

2. In recent years advances in HNGE technologies have resulted in the discovery of more precise tools that hold great promise in advancing human biomedical research and clinical translation, with the potential to improve human health. HNGE technologies in human biomedical research have facilitated developments in genetics, disease modelling and therapeutics. The use of non-heritable gene editing1 holds promise for treating genetic disorders, infertility, enhancing personalised medicine and improving health outcomes. While HNGE technologies have the potential to confer resistance to diseases and enhance traits in the future, they also raise ethical issues such as unintended consequences and long-term effects on individuals and future generations, resulting in social inequalities, and other issues on consent. Maintaining a balance between scientific innovation and ethical responsibility remains a challenge in navigating the complex landscape of HNGE. 

3. Recognising these ethical challenges, the BAC has developed a public consultation paper titled ‘Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues arising from Human Nuclear Genome Editing’ to discuss the ethical issues from the use of HNGE technologies in biomedical and clinical research and other potential clinical applications, and the ethical principles underpinning the applications of HNGE. The paper is intended to guide academics, researchers, healthcare professionals, research and healthcare institutions, Clinical Ethics Committees (CECs) and Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) on the ethical use of HNGE applications in human biomedical research, clinical research, and healthcare.  

4. The BAC would like to invite the public to provide views and feedback on the potential ethical, legal, and social issues that could arise from the use of HNGE in human biomedical and clinical research, and other potential clinical applications. These include issues on mosaicism, off-target effects, long-term safety, equitable access, the broad effect of genetic enhancement on society, and how the HNGE governance framework can be implemented in Singapore. Please refer to Annex A for the outline of key ethical issues and questions raised in the consultation paper.

How to Participate 

5. A copy of the public consultation paper is available here. The public consultation paper can also be accessed from the BAC website at www.bioethics-singapore.gov.sg

6. The BAC welcomes feedback on the issues discussed in the consultation paper, or any other aspects on the ethical use of HNGE applications in Singapore. All comments should be sent in, together with the completed respondent’s form, by 16 August 2024:

• By email to:

bioethics_singapore@moh.gov.sg

• By post to:

Biomedical Ethics Coordinating Office
1 Maritime Square
#09-66 HarbourFront Centre
Singapore 099253

• By online feedback form at:

https://go.gov.sg/hnge-respondent-form

7. There will be focus group discussions conducted virtually and/or physically in July and August 2024. The BAC will invite representatives from various academic, research and healthcare institutions, CECs, IRBs, professional bodies and societies, religious organisations, as well as industry partners to participate in these sessions.

8. A summary of the main comments/feedback received, together with the final report and recommendations will be published on the BAC website and REACH Portal in 1H 2025.

 


 

1Non-heritable gene editing involves making changes to somatic cells, and including all cells in the body that are not involved in reproduction. Changes made to these cells cannot be inherited by any children of the person receiving the treatment.