The Ethics of CRISPR: What We Can Do vs. What We Should Do
Sullivan, Michael D.
Washington and Lee University, Shepherd Poverty Program
Genetic engineering -- Moral and ethical aspects
Theory of justice (Rawls, John)
Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)
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Capstone; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]Michael D. Sullivan is a member of the Class of 2018 of Washington and Lee University.This research has two components. First, an extensive review of the primary and secondary literature on CRISPR [Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats] takes place. To begin speculating on the normative questions surrounding this technology, it is important to understand how the system works and what kind of applications are likely to become available. Afterwards, an ethical argument on the morally responsible usage of CRISPR is made, specifically with respect to human germline genome editing. This includes comparisons to current situations in the medical field that may provide a foundation for thinking about this novel technology—in particular, the ethical framework of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. Furthermore, it is necessary to think about how unequal access to this technology could consolidate disadvantage and marginalize certain groups. Principles of Rawlsian justice will be applied to ethical issues associated with CRISPR to give a framework for thinking about risks to social justice stemming from this research. The potential eugenic threat that this technology represents will be discussed as well. [From introductory section]Michael Sullivan