Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Debating CRISPR/cas9 and mitochondrial donation: continuity and transition performances at scientific conferences

Stephens, Neil James and Dimond, Rebecca ORCID: 2016. Debating CRISPR/cas9 and mitochondrial donation: continuity and transition performances at scientific conferences. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society 2 , pp. 312-321. 10.17351/ests2016.080

[thumbnail of Debating Crispr 2016.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (168kB) | Preview


Conferences are important performative sites. Here we detail a UK science policy conference debating the novel biomedical techniques CRISPR/cas9 and mitochondrial donation. Both techniques have received significant attention from scientists and bioethicists about their clinical potential, social implications, and the prospects of genetic and germline modification. In many countries the policy debates on regulating both technologies is ongoing and operating in tandem. The UK, however, is operating in a distinct policy context in that mitochondrial donation was formally legalized under license in 2015, meaning the British CRISPR/cas9 debates occur in the light of a confirmed policy position on mitochondrial donation. Our analysis of the Progress Educational Trust 2015 annual conference ‘From Three-Person IVF to Genome Editing’ argues that this event conducted important staging work in articulating the relationship between these two technologies in the UK. These efforts constitute what we call a ‘transition performance’ that (i) enacted the successful resolution of the mitochondrial donation policy debate, (ii) performed the success of British biomedical politics, and (iii) opened the space for a public debate on CRISPR/cas9 in line with a specifically configured set of legitimacy practices. Subsequently the conference contrasts to many other conferences that fit what we term a ‘continuity performance’ that seek to assert consistency and progress through iteration. We close by articulating further applications and developments of these notions in Science and Technology Studies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
ISSN: 2413-8053
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 December 2016
Date of Acceptance: 4 November 2016
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 14:08

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics