CRISPR is a new technology that allows geneticists to selectively modify the DNA of living organisms, including the possibility of heritable genetic changes to human embryos.  This is a revolutionary breakthrough because it offers tremendous potential for rapid progress in genetics and the development of new possibilities for treating genetic medical conditions.

Yet, as CRISPR continues to develop, some geneticists have become increasingly alarmed by the cultural, spiritual, and ethical challenges posed by this new technology.  One of their core recommendations is to create forums that inform the public about this new technology, so that there can be public discussion concerning the risks and rewards of CRISPR.  Some of these geneticists believe that these broad public discussions should include spiritual and religious perspectives.

This one-day conference sought to contribute to public discourse with a rich diversity of spiritual, religious, and cultural perspectives on genetics.  A special emphasis was the inclusion of Native North American cultural and spiritual perspectives.  Our keynote speaker was Dr. Krystal Tsosie, a Navajo geneticist and bioethicist at Arizona State University.  Other speakers and panelists came from other spiritual and religious traditions.

Everyone interested in this dialogue was welcome to attend this conference, regardless of their religious, spiritual, or cultural identity.