Genetic Protection Modifications: Moving Beyond the Binary Distinction Between Therapy and Enhancement for Human Genome Editing

CRISPR Journal 2 (6):362-369 (2019)
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Current debate and policy surrounding the use of genetic editing in humans often relies on a binary distinction between therapy and human enhancement. In this paper, we argue that this dichotomy fails to take into account perhaps the most significant potential uses of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing in humans. We argue that genetic treatment of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease, breast- and ovarian-cancer causing BRCA1/2 mutations and the introduction of HIV resistance in humans should be considered within a new category of genetic protection treatments. We find that if this category is not introduced, life-altering research might be unnecessarily limited by current or future policy. Otherwise ad hoc decisions might be made, which introduce a risk of unforeseen moral costs, and might overlook or fail to address some important opportunities.

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