CRISPR: A political view of human genetic modification

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This paper discusses the ethics of human genetic modification in response to the rapid increase in capabilities within this field. This topic is discussed by addressing the permissibility of genetic modification through the following research question: To what extent, and on what normative basis, is it permissible to forbid human genome editing? The invention of CRISPR has provides us with increased capabilities to treat or prevent disease, increase personal freedom of choice and decrease existing genetic inequalities. These capabilities can however also be used to limit personal freedom and create new forms of inequality. Certain forms of genetic modification may be forbidden to prevent some of the negative effects but also to preserve the significant positive effects of genetic modification. This paper identifies two main lines of reasoning on the basis of which certain forms of genetic modification may legitimately be banned. One, to protect the individual, which is to be modified, against undue influence of parents, the state or other organisations. Genetic modification should as such be the product of the will of the individual, bar situations in which both limited agency and medical need are present. Second, to protect society at large from the undesirable effects, like inequality, that some forms of modification may produce.
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