Gene Editing and Human Identity: Promising Advances and Ethical Challenges

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Innovations in gene editing, and particularly CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, which are the hallmark of a bacterial defense system that forms the basis for CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology ), have the potential to treat a range of genetic conditions, but also to fundamentally alter the heritable germline. As scientists and society  continue to grapple  with the legal, ethical, and cultural dimensions of this rapidly shifting technology, DoSER hosted a symposium at the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting in February  on “Gene Editing and Human Identity: Promising Advances and Ethical Challenges.” 

Four experts expressed interest in the positive prospects and also concerns about the safety of these technologies, their potential for commodification and/or marginalization of persons, and the ways in which social inequalities could be reinforced by limited access to them. Click here to see the full coverage of this session.


Presenter Topic Time Stamp
Robert O'Malley
Gang Bao CRISPR/Cas9-Based Genome Editing for Treating Sickle Cell Disease 5:18-12:59
Marcy Darnovsky Gene Editing for Reproduction: “Moral Questions of an Altogether Different Kind” 13:00-35:39
Nicanor Austriaco Human Genome Editing With CRISPR: Dignity and Other Faith-Based Considerations 35:40-53:59
Christopher Scott Discussant 54:00-1:10
Q&A  Audience 1:11-1:21