Genome Prairie


Commercialization & Society

GE3LS provides leadership in ethical, environmental, economic, legal, and social issues related to genomics in Canada.

Through an examination of key issues in the areas of intellectual property management, commercialization issues and public views on emerging technologies, the GE3LS team has contributed to policy development and led the world in balancing the benefits and issues around genomics technologies.

Translating world-class academic research into applications that maximize societal and clinical benefits is an area of research in itself and integral to all Genome Canada funded projects. As a result of GE3LS research, Canada was one of only two non-European nations invited to join the European Research Area for Societal Aspects of Genomics.

Canadians are well aware of controversies on the subject of genetic research. For example, the safety and benefits of genetically modified foods have been argued for almost two decades and the case for and against human stem-cell research is discussed almost daily. As Canada and the world continue to set out on important new scientific ventures, our society needs to consider very carefully the ethical and legal implications of genomics research. Genomics and its applications will have profound effects on our lives and will be subject to new laws and regulations.

Our research sounds out public opinion about genome research, aims to understand the effects of government regulations and analyzes ways in which genomic research can be commercialized. Our results will help governments make policies to ensure that the applications of genomic research occur safely and in the full knowledge of public opinion.

Genomics is a multi-disciplinary field which touches many facets of our lives. Genome Prairie promotes responsible research through the facilitation and support of open dialogue about
GE3LS issues within the research, public, government and industrial communities.

Research ResultsResearch Results

The project team produced a variety of studies on public reaction to the use of genetically modified foods, the impact of news media on public attitudes and information, legal aspects of human genetic databases and the implications of patenting life forms. This research is playing an important role in helping to inform government policy related to genomics.

Public understanding of genomics is critical for advancing genetic research at all levels. Relationships between public benefit, science and commercialization were examined in
the Pathogenomics of Innate Immunity project as its researchers worked to improve the way vaccines enable the body to defend against disease.

Notable OutcomesNotable Outcomes

  • 102 peer reviewed articles, 72 books, chapters and reports, and 38 oral presentations.
  • Increased Canada’s profile as a leader in social research related to the societal impacts of genomics.

Quick Facts

Project Leaders:

Edna Einsiedel

Project Value:

$3.3 Million

Genome Canada Contribution:

$1.65 Million


Other Funding Partners:

$1.65 Million

Project Status:

2001 - 2006


Genome Canada Competition I