King testifies in legislative committee hearing

Benjamin King, University of Maine assistant professor of bioinformatics, testified Jan. 10 to the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee on behalf of the University of Maine in support of LD 1771 to establish an advisory panel to better understand and make recommendations regarding the implications of genome-editing technology for Maine. 

A copy of his testimony is online.

In his testimony, King noted that Maine is a national leader in biomedical research as a result of multiple university- and community-based initiatives and partnerships. Those include UMaine’s Institute of Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, and Maine INBRE (Institutional Development Award Network for Biomedical Research Excellence). 

UMaine involves students in nationally recognized biomedical research “to prepare the next generation of the in-demand biomedical and bioinformatics workforce whose discoveries and innovations will improve our public and economic health and quality of life in Maine and around the world,” said King.

“The ethical, legal and social implications of genome-editing are complex and interdisciplinary,” King noted in his testimony. “Strategic public and private investments in biomedical research and education, including in ethical, legal and social implications, would further reinforce Maine’s leadership role in genetics and biomedical research, including that related to the future of our heritage industries like fishing and farming. 

“The advisory panel proposed by LD 1771 would elevate what is already happening in Maine and better position the state to avoid the hazards of genome-editing technology and capitalize on the potential of the technology in the future.”

Contact: Margaret Nagle,