1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

Cesagen · Events

Cesagen Public Lecture: "Our biological heritage and our human future - living and flourishing sustainably" with Sir John Sulston FRS

Public event   24.05.2012






Sir John Sulston FRS

Professor Sir John Sulston is Chair of the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation (iSEI) at the University of Manchester. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2002 jointly with Sydney Brenner and Bob Horvitz, for the work they had done in understanding the development of the nematode (worm) Caenorhabditis elegans. Sir John was also the Founder Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Centre from 1992 to 2000, where one third of the task to sequence the human genome was completed. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Chair of the Royal Society working group on 'People and the Planet' and an Honorary Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge.

Organised by

Richard Tutton, Cesagen


Lancaster Town Hall

Event details


Nobel Prize winner Sir John Sulston visits Lancaster to provide Cesagen a public lecture drawing on his vast experience in the fields of ethics and biology.


Half a century ago the discovery of the key molecular principles of life opened a new era of biological discovery and understanding.

Since then, biology has grown from a largely academic discipline into one of great social and industrial value. This shift has brought vast opportunities for research and investment, but has also brought the need to balance profitability with the demands of social justice - a commodity still in short supply in the world today.

Justice demands sharing of fundamental information, yet some would like to enclose it. Justice demands equality of treatment, yet discrimination on grounds of genetics or culture is frequent. Justice demands equitable healthcare, yet most research and development is resourced by investment aimed at maximising financial return, and is only now beginning to reach the disease burden of the majority of humankind. Justice demands equality of opportunity, yet is blocked by vast inequalities of wealth.

Meanwhile the impact of the growing human population, and the growing consumption of resources by the richer countries, is bringing us to the limits of what the earth can sustain. Here lies another demand for justice - justice between the generations. Our descendants ought to receive opportunities at least as great as those we ourselves enjoy, but if we continue in our current style they will not.

Choices made now - ethical, legal, social, and scientific - will determine the future of humanity. Shall we choose to flourish, or merely survive?

This article by The Guardian's environment editor, on the 26 April 2012, reports on a new Royal Society study, chaired by Professor Sir John Sulston:

World needs to stabilise population and cut consumption, says Royal Society

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