Blog by Alicia Lopez Cuesta - ESRC Genomics Forum Intern
You’re probably familiar with the Edinburgh International Science Festival but not with Gengage…? It is time to remedy that! Gengage, also known as The Scottish Healthcare Genetics Public Engagement Network, exists in symbiosis with the ESRC Genomics Forum. Gengage has the challenging mission of connecting people who are working to enhance public engagement with healthcare genetics in Scotland.
As part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, Gengage held a successful event on Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) on the 20th of April, titled “From Healthy Embryos To Designer Babies: How Far Is Too Far?”.
From 2pm to 5pm, more than 50 participants filled the room to learn about PGD and to share their opinions about such a delicate and controversial topic. Should PGD be offered for all genetic disorders? Should PGD be permitted for the creation of ‘saviour siblings’? or Should PGD be used for non-medical reasons? were some of the questions on which the public had to discuss and ‘vote’ on.
The stimulating presentations of the speakers, the generous help of the round-table facilitators and the victory of the organisers over the last minute whims of technology, generated a rich base for the participants’ various and interesting thoughts.
Gengage is grateful for all the positive feedback given by the participants, particularly the moving thanks from the retired GP who entered medical school in 1942.
I have been embedded in Gengage and the Genomics Forum as part of my studies in Science and Technology Studies at Science Po Grenoble for 6 months as an intern. Helping to organise this event was for me a good opportunity to take part in public engagement around science and medicine and to chat with welcoming speakers. As I am likely to deal with PGD in the future, I think this event was well-balanced with pros and cons.
I hope to find these kind of events in France where the last year of my science and technology studies is waiting for me!