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Treading the Line Between Sensational and Groundbreaking Science
Christopher Scott

In April 2015 a team of Chinese scientists reported in a little known journal, Protein & Cell, the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to cleave and then repair the HBB gene in nonviable human embryos (Liang et al. 2015). The mutated form of HBB causes B-thalassemia, a potentially fatal blood disease. To say the experiment prompted controversy is an understatement. It was published on the heels of two high-pr...

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Target Article

“Editing” Genes: A Case Study About How Language Matters in Bioethics
Meaghan O'Keefe, Sarah Perrault, Jodi Halpern, Lisa Ikemoto, Mark Yarborough & UC North Bioethics Collaboratory for Life & Health Sciences

Metaphors used to describe new technologies mediate public understanding of the innovations. Analyzing the linguistic, rhetorical, and affective aspects of these metaphors opens the range of issues available for bioethical scrutiny and increases public accountability. This article shows how such a multidisciplinary approach can be useful by looking at a set of texts about one issue, the use of a n...

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CRISPR Critters and CRISPR Cracks
R. Alta Charo & Henry T. Greely

This essay focuses on possible nonhuman applications of CRISPR/Cas9 that are likely to be widely overlooked because they are unexpected and, in some cases, perhaps even “frivolous.” We look at five uses for “CRISPR Critters”: wild de-extinction, domestic de-extinction, personal whim, art, and novel forms of disease prevention. We then discuss the current regulatory framework and its possib...

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Engineering Values Into Genetic Engineering: A Proposed Analytic Framework for Scientific Social Responsibility
Pamela L. Sankar & Mildred K. Cho

Recent experiments have been used to “edit” genomes of various plant, animal and other species, including humans, with unprecedented precision. Furthermore, editing the Cas9 endonuclease gene with a gene encoding the desired guide RNA into an organism, adjacent to an altered gene, could create a “gene drive” that could spread a trait through an entire population of organisms. These experim...

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Human Germline CRISPR-Cas Modification: Toward a Regulatory Framework
Niklaus H. Evitt, Shamik Mascharak & Russ B. Altman

CRISPR germline editing therapies (CGETs) hold unprecedented potential to eradicate hereditary disorders. However, the prospect of altering the human germline has sparked a debate over the safety, efficacy, and morality of CGETs, triggering a funding moratorium by the NIH. There is an urgent need for practical paths for the evaluation of these capabilities. We propose a model regulatory framework ...

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Germline Manipulation and Our Future Worlds
John Harris

Two genetic technologies capable of making heritable changes to the human genome have revived interest in, and in some quarters a very familiar panic concerning, so-called germline interventions. These technologies are: most recently the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to edit genes in non-viable IVF zygotes and Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy (MRT) the use of which was approved in principle in a landmark vo...

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