GP-Write Ramps Up for 2017

gp-write meeting new york 2017

Welcome to the official blog of GP-write!

Through this blog, we will not only provide you with project updates, but will invite you to engage with us to consider all aspects of this Grand Challenge.

What global challenges should this project address to advance humanity? What technological limitations do we need to overcome? Who owns a synthetic genome? Will GP-write widen inequality – or help to address it? These are just a few of the hard questions that we would like to delve into further with you in 2017.

But more importantly, we want to hear from you.

If there is a specific topic that you would like us to cover, please provide your feedback in the comments at the bottom of this post, or contact us here. In addition, from time to time, we will feature guest blogs from interested parties in the GP-write community.  Please let us know if you have a burning desire to share your thoughts on a topic of interest to the project.

Name This Blog!

The first topic we would like you to think about and provide us some input on is the name of this blog. We invite all members of the GP-write community to submit suggestions for a blog name in March at The official name will be announced on our next blog update in April. We can’t wait to hear your suggestions!

GP-write Updates

GP-write has attracted a great deal of thought and interest, particularly after the May 10th meeting in 2016 (meeting summary), the online publication of a Commentary in Science, and the issuance of a press release. Representative coverage of the meeting and Commentary can be found here on the project’s website. Videos from the meeting can be viewed here. The project has also gained significant momentum since last year, and we have quite a few updates to share with you below.

Expanded Project Scope

Over the past six months, the Leadership team has been hard at work responding to comments from the press and scientists around the world. In large part due to these conversations, the project’s name has been changed from HGP-write to GP-write, and its scope expanded. The project will focus on using synthesis and genome editing technologies to understand, engineer and test living systems of model organisms, including the human genome, and plants in cell lines. The goal of GP-write is to not only deepen our understanding of life but to develop pragmatic technology of general use in biology, improving the cost and quality of DNA synthesis, DNA assembly in cells, and testing of many DNA variations on tissue characteristics. These updated project details can be found in detail in the GP-write White Paper.  Please note that the White Paper is a “living document” which will be continuously revised as more comments are received, new developments occur and pilot projects are suggested.

An International Effort

To date, nearly 200 scientists from over 100 institutions/companies in 15 countries have expressed interest in participating in GP-write (view here); moreover, several countries have expressed a willingness to provide financial support for the project.  Nature has cited Jef Boeke and HGP-write as a “project to watch” in 2017: Scroll to the bottom of the article for “Ones to Watch in 2017”. 

May 2017 GP-write Meeting

We hope you can join us at the next meeting for GP-write, which will be held on May 9th and 10th, 2017, at the New York Genome Center in New York City.  You can find out more about the meeting here. You can register here. The Agenda and speakers will be posted in early March, but will include discussions about roadmaps for the project, including scientific direction, technology development, ethical, social and legal engagement, standards and infrastructure development, amongst others. Scientific topics will include, among other things, the introduction and discussion of new Pilot Projects and the creation of an Industry Consortium. Specific meetings will also be organized around a press briefing and funding.

All meeting updates can be found here. For those unable to attend the meeting in person, we are seeking webcasting options. Please refer to our website for updates on this option.

Working Groups

A series of working groups are being formed, the goal of which is to create roadmaps for a number of important topics surrounding GP-write. Working groups are being formed around the following topics:

  • Scientific Roadmap
  • Ethical, legal and social implications
  • Technology development
  • Infrastructure development
  • Safety engineering
  • Standards
  • Intellectual property
  • Communications and public outreach
  • Policy development

We will provide regular status updates for each working group on the project’s website. We also expect to provide initial status updates at the May meeting.

Thank you for your interest in this Grand Challenge Project! We are excited to begin on this journey, which we hope will contribute to solving many of our most pressing global challenges!