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Other research product . 2020

What is CRISPR-Cas9 and is it ethically sound?

Gillesberg, Andrea Lund; Jensen, Magnus Stenaa; Knoll, Mikkel Hoelgaard; Sabelski-Schneider, Mathias;
Open Access
Published: 01 Jan 2020
Publisher: Roskilde Universitet
Country: Denmark

In this report, we will present and discuss the ethical and technical background behind the gene modification tool CRISPR-Cas9. This biological achievement can be described as a genetic “pair of scissors” that can modify DNA to fx. remove a disease gene. The ethical discussion in this report includes arguments from moral philosopher Jonathan Glover and molecular biologist James Watson. We will look at the pros and cons in this discussion, and through an argumentation, the analysis assesses the validity of these claims. Arguments for the use of genetic enhancements include Parent’s right to decide for their child, competition and equality on a global scale, and human evolution. Arguments against include Genetic diversity declining, inequality between humans, and the natural fallacy.We have concluded that this is not a matter of right and wrong, but rather that what is necessary is a systematisation of use on somatic cells, as this won’t directly impact later generation. Gene modification on germ cells and embryos is, based on our evaluation, not ethically sustainable. To make this project even further we will also discuss how CRISPR technology can be used in our current pandemic stricken world as a tool in Covid-19 testing.

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Medical Subject Headings: humanities

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