Special Issue on Ethics of Human Genome Editing
Sarah Chan, PhD
Director, Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences & the Law
University of Edinburgh, UK
Sam Sternberg, PhD
Associate Editor, The CRISPR Journal and
Department Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics
Columbia University, New York
There has been enormous international debate over the past few years concerning the ethics of genome editing in general, and heritable human genome editing in particular. Numerous reports and statements have been published, each proposing various principles or guidelines to govern the use of genome editing technologies in humans. While these have ranged from cautious to optimistic, the general consensus has been an opposition to clinical application of human heritable genome editing at the present time. However, in November 2018, Dr. He Jiankui made headlines by announcing the birth of two reportedly genome-edited babies, violating widely agreed standards of ethics and scientific responsibility in the process.
In the wake of these events, calls have intensified to address the ethical issues raised by heritable genome editing, as well as the challenges it poses for global governance of both research and clinical applications. How should – indeed, how can we control human genome editing? What would be required for human heritable genome editing ever to become ethically acceptable, and for which, if any, uses? Given the current and future realities of human genome editing, how should we re-examine concepts such as risk and benefit (individual, collective and intergenerational); responsibility; health and disease; justice; and the significance of heritability? How, in short, should humans confront a potential future of humans bearing heritable genome modifications?
This special issue of The CRISPR Journal will explore new developments in ethics, governance, and regulation of human genome editing, both heritable and non-heritable. Specific topics may include (but are not confined to):
- Questions of risk, harm, and benefit in relation to heritable genome editing
- Global ethical and regulatory considerations
- Openness, accountability, and responsibility in scientific research
- Strategies for governance of human genome editing
- Ethical issues in the development of reproductive technologies that might enable heritable human genome editing
- The implications of ‘biohacking’ and different routes to accessing human genome editing
The guest editors are bioethicist Dr. Sarah Chan (Mason Institute, University of Edinburgh, UK) and Dr. Sam Sternberg (Columbia University), co-author of the book A Crack in Creation (with Jennifer Doudna) and Associate Editor of The CRISPR Journal.
Contributions will receive prompt and thorough peer review and will be published online (epub) ahead of print after acceptance. Please refer to our Instructions for Authors before submitting your manuscript for consideration.
This special issue will be published in late 2019; the deadline for submissions is July 15, 2019.
Advantages of publishing in The CRISPR Journal include:
- Swift, high-quality peer review and editorial oversight
- Fast and user-friendly electronic submission
- Maximum exposure: accessible in 170 countries worldwide
- International press and social media outreach
- Open Access options available
The CRISPR Journal is dedicated to publishing cutting-edge research and opinion on genome editing and CRISPR biology. It is a truly multidisciplinary journal, providing a high-profile platform to share and discuss advances in research and applications for the rapidly growing CRISPR/genome editing community.