Policy ForumResearch Priorities

ELSI 2.0 for Genomics and Society

Science  11 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6082, pp. 673-674
DOI: 10.1126/science.1218015

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Summary

Anticipating and addressing the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of scientific developments has been a key feature of the genomic research agenda (14). Research in genomics is advancing by developing common infrastructures and research platforms, open-access and sharing policies, and new forms of international collaborations (512). In this paper, we outline a proposal to establish a “collaboratory” (13) for ELSI research to enable it to become more coordinated, responsive to societal needs, and better able to apply the research knowledge it generates at the global level. Current ELSI research is generally nationally focused, with investigator-initiated approaches that are not always aligned with the developments in international genomics research. This makes it difficult to efficiently leverage findings that impact global practice and policy. Moreover, as translational genomic research design challenges become more pressing (14), ELSI research will need to develop greater capacity to respond rapidly to new developments. The ELSI 2.0 Initiative is designed to catalyze international collaboration in ELSI genomics and to enable those in the field to better assess the impact and dynamics of global genome research.