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UK Government's new bioscience advisory body starts recruiting

19 March 2012
Appeared in BioNews 649

The UK's Department of Health has announced it is recruiting members for its new advisory body on the implications of developments in bioscience.

The Human Genetics Commission (HGC), which appeared on a leaked list of 177 quangos facing review and abolition in 2010, is to be reconstituted as an expert committee, the Emerging Science and Bioethics Advisory Committee (ESBAC). With a broader remit than just genetics, ESBAC will be established on 1 May 2012. 

The HGC was set up in 1999 to promote informed debate about the practical and ethical implications of developments in human genetics. At the time, public concerns were raised about the effects of genetically modified foods on health and some surveys indicated a lack of public confidence in the effective regulation of research in life sciences.

The HGC acted in an advisory capacity for Government health and science ministers and the NHS. The remit of ESBAC is wider, says the Department of Health, which is recruiting a Chair for the new body and up to 14 members with expertise in medicine, law, ethics and public engagement.

ESBAC will provide advice to the Department of Health and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on the ethical, legal, social and economic implications of emerging developments in bioscience.

29 June 2015 - by Dr Alice Maynard 
I served on the Human Genetics Commission as a lay member from 2006 to 2012, and found exploring new developments in this area fascinating...
17 February 2014 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
The future of the Government's advisory body on emerging scientific developments is in doubt after a decision has been made not to renew appointments when they come to an end in the coming months....
7 June 2012 - by Dr Rebecca Hill 
The Human Genetics Commission (HGC) has published its final report, which marks the end of its 12 years as an advisory body to the Government...
21 May 2012 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
Sir Alasdair Breckenridge has been appointed as Chair of the Government's new advisory body on the implications of developments in bioscience, the Emerging Science and Bioethics Advisory Committee (ESBAC)....
11 April 2012 - by Dr Stuart Hogarth and Professor Brian Salter 
The Department of Health (DH) has announced the formation of a new body to advise on emerging healthcare scientific developments and their ethical, legal, social and economic implications. The new body, the Emerging Science and Bioethics Advisory Committee (ESBAC), will rise phoenix-like from the ashes of the Human Genetics Commission (HGC), which was incinerated in the government's recent bonfire of the quangos. It is a telling illustration of the continued governance challeng...
27 September 2010 - by Dr Vivienne Raper 
The UK Government's advisory body on new developments in human genetics faces an uncertain future after it appeared on a leaked list of 177 quangos facing Government review and abolition. Members of the Human Genetics Commission (HGC) received an email on Friday from the Department of Health (DH) apologising for the leak in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, but not contradicting its substance...
10 January 2000 - by BioNews 
The Department of Health has released details of appointments to the new Human Genetics Commission (HGC). The HGC replaces and extends the ambit of the Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing, the Advisory Group on Scientific Advances in Genetics and the Human Genetics Advisory Commission. The commission is to be chaired...
31 May 1999 - by BioNews 
The British government announced its decision last week to change the way in which biotechnology developments are regulated. Two new strategic bodies will be set up to oversee the work of 17 committees involved in bioscience regulation - a Human Genetics Commission, replacing the existing Human Genetics Advisory Commission, will advise...
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