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Emerging ethical perspectives in the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats genome-editing debate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-586
Number of pages12
JournalFuture Medicine
Issue number6
Early online date28 Oct 2016
Accepted/In press2 Sep 2016
E-pub ahead of print28 Oct 2016
Published1 Nov 2016


King's Authors


This paper provides an overview of the ethical issues in the international clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) genome editing debate from March 2015 to September 2016. We present the regulatory framework for embryo research in the UK, and explain why CRISPR is not a significant break with the past. We discuss the ethical issues arising from CRISPR applications beyond human embryos, namely the use of gene drive-engineered mosquitoes to eradicate diseases, engineering nonhuman animals to harvest organs for human transplant and engineering crops. We discuss the experiments that have demonstrated the technical feasibility of cultivating embryos in vitro for up to 14 days, and possibly beyond this limit, and the ethical issues arising from the proposal to extend the limit beyond 14 days.

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