Talk at the International Conference on Genomics

My Halloween weekend had a very appropriate start this year: I was invited to kick off the on the ethics sessions for the Annual Meeting of the International Conference on Genomics with a talk on the ‘Frankenstein framing’ on Saturday 29th Oct. At the time, I was travelling in Manchester to deliver a main stage session on the same day.

Fortunately, due to time difference, my ICG talk was scheduled at 6am, so it wasn’t in conflict with the QED programme.

Unfortunately, the Mercure I stayed at had no functioning wifi for my room and there was no spare room for me to switch to! A hotel staff who was trying to be helpful, literally suggested that I should try the bathroom as ‘weirdly enough, the wifi signals are often stronger there’! I’ve delivered conference talks in various circumstances, but I’m quite determined not to give one from the toilet seat!

So there I was, (getting ready to) give my Frankenstein talk at 6am from the corner of the hotel lobby. All early birds at the hotel had a free bioethics lecture that morning! – But most of the guests are members of the scientific scepticism movement, so I was in good company.

A very unique aspect of this year’s ICG ethics discussion was that it was not a one-off event. In fact, thanks to the organisation of my friend Ole Doering, the majority of panellists (Barbara Buchberger, Francis P. Crawley, Dr Sonu Bhaskar, Marc Van Montagu, Yeyang Su and I) have been meeting regularly over the past few months exchanging ideas. The discussion on 29th Oct was an extension of months exchange. And yes, the conversation continues.

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