This review considers the impact of recent advances in genome editing, which have diffused rapidly across many fields of biological research, and the range of ethical questions to which they give rise. It was carried out by an interdisciplinary Working Group that included expertise in science, law, philosophy, ethics, sociology and industry. In coming to its conclusions, the Working Group invited contributions from a wide range of people, including through an open call for evidence that ran from November 2015 until February 2016.
The review sets out our preliminary findings on the impact of genome editing across different areas of biological research and applications, and the range of questions to which this gives rise.
- Genome editing in brief: what, why and how?
- The context of genome editing
- Moral perspectives
- Human health
- Wildlife and ecosystems
- Other applications: industrial, military and amateur use
The next stages of this programme of work will focus on examining and addressing the ethical and practical questions arising in two contexts where genome editing may have a significant impact: firstly, the avoidance of genetic disease and, secondly, livestock farming. Reports on each of these two areas, with recommendations for policy and practice, will be published in 2017.