In 2018, France and the UK announced enhanced cooperation between Genomics England and the French ‘Médecine Génomique 2025’ project in order to deliver a global leading public genomic medicine service. The successful achievement of this aim requires the development of common approaches, not only to standardisation of the new technologies, but also to ethical standards in research and practice.
For the first time, two publically funded health care systems will imbed the use of whole genome sequencing into routine patient care; yet each system is based on different values and principles that give rise to different ways of implementing new genomic technologies into clinical practice. In order to develop common approaches to good ethical practice, we need a clear understanding of existing debates, regulations and practices, and of the underlying norms in each country.
UK-FR GENE (Genomics and Ethics Network) provides a platform where British and French researchers and other stakeholders in the field can reflect on ethical and social questions of genomic technologies and their clinical application that emerge in each national context. Its aim is to identify pressing ethical issues in each country and understand their socio-cultural and normative underpinnings. Exploring these issues from a comparative perspective will enable us to shed new light on them and offer potential solutions that are adapted to each context. UK-FR GENE creates an opportunity to develop joint research agendas, and collaborative projects and grant applications that will lead to important outcomes informing ethical standards in the use of genomic technologies and their implementation in clinical practice in the UK and France.
This workshop is the first of a series of workshops of our network. It provides an overview of some of the main issues raised by genomics and of the different approaches in each country. The workshop creates an opportunity to identify themes for future workshop and to develop joint research agendas, collaborative projects and joint grant applications.