ISO/TC 276 experts meet virtually to discuss genome editing terminology
In mid-April, Working Group 1 “Terminology” of the international standards committee ISO/TC 276 Biotechnology held a virtual meeting to discuss and coordinate its activities. The main topics of discussion were two projects of the Working Group – the draft version of an article on establishing an uniform understanding within biotechnology research and development, and the comments received on the project “Genome editing – Vocabulary Part I”. The article is the culmination of years of work by the WG’s experts, who have compiled and compared definitions of biotechnologically relevant terms. During this work, the experts discovered that very different definitions are sometimes used for one and the same term, and that the definitions are very contextually based. Yet this is not made sufficiently clear in the technical standards, thus creating a high risk of misunderstanding. In one instance, every definition found was not adequate, so Working Group 2 of ISO TC 276 added a new (expanded) definition to the set of definitions that is particularly suitable for its standardisation work. The terminology experts plan to draw attention to these findings either through the upcoming article or through a series of articles.
The genome editing project is in its final stage. As part of consultation within ISO/TC 276, the experts were asked for input on the terms and definitions that have been compiled on genome editing. These comments were discussed and evaluated at the WG 1 meeting. It is worth noting that consultation participants unanimously welcomed the project and that the majority of comments were of a formal nature. In the few cases where there were substantive comments, the experts proposed solutions for how to address the issues in their work going forward. The next meeting is scheduled for the autumn.