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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.

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