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Genome editing

Rewriting the code for life

The capacity to make precise genome edits is slowly changing our approach to medicine, agriculture and our planet. What breakthroughs will it enable in the future? 

Genome editing has altered the way we are able to think about biology. Rapid advances in this newly discovered technology are giving us almost unlimited potential for making precise modifications to eukaryotic genomes. In concert with other recent advances in the biological sciences, the capacity to make precise genome edits virtually at will has begun to change our approach to medicine, agriculture and our planet.

This panel discussion is the first in a series of Sydney Ideas events discussing the new possibilities of genome manipulation. The fundamental science and applications of genome editing will be discussed at this event. Future events will expand on how we can expect it to change our world.

This event was held at the University of Sydney on Thursday 14 June 2018.


  • Marcus Heisler is an Associate Professor in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. His work focuses on understanding patterning mechanisms underlying the development of plants.
    Topic: the biology of multicellular eukaryotes and CRISPR

  • Alyson Ashe is a Research Fellow at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney. Her research focuses on epigenetic inheritance (the transmission of information – often about current environmental conditions – between generations), and she uses model organisms to understand the genes and proteins that regulate this information transfer.
    Topic: epigenetic inheritance, nematodes and CRISPR

  • Chris Grupen is an Associate Professor of Reproductive Biology at the University of Sydney’s School of Veterinary Science. His research aims to increase our understanding of gamete function and fertility, and improve the efficiency of embryo in vitro production systems in livestock species. His research interests include the development of gene editing techniques to generate large animal models of human disease.
    Topic: editing animal embryos for medical research

  • Greg Neely is an Associate Professor at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney. His current research focuses on functional genomics and identifying genes and coding mutations that participate in major age-related and neurological diseases. Associate Professor Greg Neely is also interested the environmental factors that contribute to human disease, and how our genes interact with these factors to cause disease in some but not others.
    Topic: CRISPR-based drug discovery

  • Brian Jones (chair) is an Associate Professor in Plant Molecular Biology in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. He focusses on developing strategies for improving genome editing in a broad range of crop plants and the interactions between plants and their pathogens.

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