Location & dates Large Operon, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany 15 Oct 2017
Deadlines Registration closed

EMBL Courses and Conferences during the Coronavirus pandemic

With the onsite programme paused, many of our events are now being offered in virtual formats.

Registration is open as usual for many events, with back-up plans in place to move further courses and conferences online as necessary. Registration fees for any events affected by the COVID-19 disruption are fully refundable.

More information for participants of events at EMBL Heidelberg can be found here.

Join us in Heidelberg or watch the event online at s.embl.org/codeoflife2017.

Take part in the conversation at #scisoc2017


This event is free of charge.

Late registration is possible. Please contact Diah Yulianti to get the registration link.


At the 2017 EMBL Science and Society symposium in Heidelberg, we will focus on the development of genome editing technologies and explore potential applications and exchange ideas about the social and ethical implications of these technologies.

The emergence of genome editing as a viable way to tackle disease in humans, animals and plants has hit the headlines. Recent applications have certainly been eye-catching: a child cured of leukaemia, mosquitoes resistant to malaria parasites and other stories have people thinking about how this technology might change the way we live. What new applications are in the pipeline - cures for HIV, new cancer therapies, improving IVF and fertility treatments? Will it be possible/permissible to transcend nature by ‘enhancing’ the genomes of a wide range of organisms, humans among them?

Technologies for cloning, shuffling, transferring, and recombining genes have been around for decades, but now these technologies have matured to the point that we may finally be in a position to start editing genomes in a more precise way. The real game changer has been the 2013 discovery of the CRISPR/Cas9 technique, which allows for cheaper, more accurate and easier editing of genomes. While it has promise for transforming our lives, there is a clear and immediate need to work through the ethical and social implications of its use.

How do we balance the benefits to the health of humans, crops and the environment against the potential risks? And what if these new technologies pushed us gradually onto a slippery slope towards greater social inequality? At the EMBL Science and Society symposium 2017 we will explore these and many other questions.


The main aim of the EMBL Science and Society meetings is to present important areas of life science research in a manner accessible to all, and to promote reflection on their implications. At the same time, they should facilitate a broad dialogue between biologists, behavioral and social scientists, students of all disciplines, and members of the public.

Who should attend?

Everyone is welcome to attend free of charge.
For more information about previous meetings in the series please check the Science and Society website.