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Permanent Senate Commission on Key Questions of Genetic Research

The Permanent Senate Commission on Key Questions of Genetic Research is a DFG expert committee. It sees itself as an advisory body to the academic community as well as to policymakers, authorities and the public at large on current issues in genetic research including genetic engineering and its applications. One of the Commission’s main responsibilities is active public relations work.

Among the plethora of pending problems, the Commission prioritises those fields where work on research policy is required, where there are deficits in debate and where developments in genetic research come to the fore that raise scientific, ethical, legal and social questions.

Current topics include the following:

  • Genome editing technologies in plant breeding
  • Human genome editing (germline editing, somatic gene therapy)
  • Dealing with highly pathogenic organisms and toxins (Dual Use Research of Concern)
  • Stem cell research and organoids
  • Human-animal chimeras
  • Synthetic biology

Recommendations and opinions

The Senate Commission raises awareness among the academic community of the need for conscientious action at the interface between academic freedom and academic responsibility, advocating open social and political discourse. To this end, it publishes recommendations and statements:

Towards a scientifically justified, differentiated regulation of genome edited plants in the EU

Statement on the position of the National Ethics Council – “Interven-
tions in the human germline”  

Position Paper – Synthetic Biology                                                                                                 

Human genome sequencing – challenges to responsible use in science

The opportunities and limits of genome editing                                                               

Code of Conduct: Work with highly pathogenic microorganisms and toxins