The Ethics of Genome Editing

Posted by: Seraya Maouche | Last updated on: 5 April 2018

Genome editing

CRISPR technology was selected as Science´s 2015 Breakthrough of the Year.

Key Words:
Genome editing, gene editing, Genomic engineering, Targeted genome engineering, CRISPR-driven genome editing, CRISPR, CRISPR-Cas9, transcription activator-like effector nucleases, TALENs, Zinc-finger nucleases, ZFNs, GEEN, genome editing with engineered nucleases,

Genome editing tools

Reports, Statements, and Guidelines

Organizations, groups, and ethics councils

Industrial stakeholders

Past and upcoming events

Surveys & public dialogues


News & Press Articles



A global observatory for gene editing
Burall S.
Nature. 2018; 555:435-437
PubMed ID: 29565415

Genomics and genetic medicine: pathways to global health?
Gibbon S, Kilshaw S, Sleeboom-Faulkner M.
Anthropol Med. 2018; 25(1)(1):1-10.
PubMed ID: 29533095

Rethink public engagement for gene editing
Sheila Jasanoff S., Hurlbut JB.
Nature. 2018; 555:438-439
PubMed ID: 29565402

Survey on the perception of germline genome editing among the general public in Japan
Uchiyama M, Nagai A, Muto K.
J Hum Genet. 2018;
PubMed ID: 29545588

Genetic approaches to access cell types in mammalian nervous systems.
He M, Huang ZJ.
Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2018; 109-118.
PubMed ID: 29471215

Responsible innovation in human germline gene editing: Background document to the recommendations of ESHG and ESHRE.
De Wert G, Heindryckx B, Pennings G, Clarke A, Eichenlaub-Ritter U, van El CG, Forzano F, Goddijn M, Howard HC, Radojkovic D, Rial-Sebbag E, Dondorp W, Tarlatzis BC, Cornel MC; European Society of Human Genetics and the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.
Eur J Hum Genet. 2018;
PubMed ID: 29326429

Mind the gaps! Towards an ethical framework for genome editing.
Braun M, Dabrock P.
EMBO Rep. 2018; 19 (2):197-200.
PubMed ID: 29282216

Could Failure in Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis Justify Editing the Human Embryo Genome?
Steffann J, Jouannet P, Bonnefont JP, Chneiweiss H, Frydman N.
Cell Stem Cell. 2018; . pii: S1934-5909(18)30004-3
PubMed ID: 29429945

Human germline gene editing: Recommendations of ESHG and ESHRE.
de Wert G, Pennings G, Clarke A, Eichenlaub-Ritter U, van El CG, Forzano F, Goddijn M, Heindryckx B, Howard HC, Radojkovic D, Rial-Sebbag E, Tarlatzis BC, Cornel MC; European Society of Human Genetics and the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.
Eur J Hum Genet. 2018;
PubMed ID: 29326428

Recent developments in genetics and medically assisted reproduction: from research to clinical applications.
Harper et al.
Eur J Hum Genet. 2018; 26(1):12-33
PubMed ID: 29199274

Invited review: Breeding and ethical perspectives on genetically modified and genome edited cattle.
Eriksson S, Jonas E, Rydhmer L, Roecklinsberg H.
J Dairy Sci. 2018; 101(1):1-17
PubMed ID: 29102147

One small edit for humans, one giant edit for humankind? Points and questions to consider for a responsible way forward for gene editing in humans..
Howard HC, van El CG, Forzano F, Radojkovic D, Rial-Sebbag E, de Wert G, Borry P, Cornel MC; Public and Professional Policy Committee of the European Society of Human Genetics.
Eur J Hum Genet. 2018; 26(1):1-11
PubMed ID: 29192152

Ethical issues of CRISPR technology and gene editing through the lens of solidarity.
Mulvihill JJ, Capps B, Joly Y, Lysaght T, Zwart HAE, Chadwick R; International Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) Committee of Ethics, Law, and Society (CELS).
Br Med Bull. 2018; 122(1):17-29
PubMed ID: 28334154

Engaging Mãori in biobanking and genomic research: a model for biobanks to guide culturally informed governance, operational, and community engagement activities..
Beaton A, Hudson M, Milne M, Port RV, Russell K, Smith B, Toki V, Uerata L, Wilcox P, Bartholomew K, Wihongi H.
Genet Med. 2018; 122(1):17-29
PubMed ID: 27632687


The ethics of creating genetically modified children using genome editing.
Cartolovni A.
Life Sci Soc Policy. 2017; 13(1):18
PubMed ID: 29264723

Human gene editing: revisiting Canadian policy.
Knoppers BM, Isasi R, Caulfield T, Kleiderman E, Bedford P, Illes J, Ogbogu U, Ravitsky V, Rudnicki M.
NPJ Regen Med. 2017; 52:3
PubMed ID: 29302340

Synthetic Biology, Genome Editing, and the Risk of Bioterrorism.
Ahteensuu M.
Sci Eng Ethics. 2017; 23(6):1541-1561
PubMed ID: 28074376

The Council of Europe should not reaffirm the ban on germline genome editing in humans.
Sykora P, Caplan A.
EMBO Rep. 2017; 18(11):1871-1872
PubMed ID: 28986351

Human Embryo Editing: Opportunities and Importance of Transnational Cooperation.
Pei D, Beier DW, Levy-Lahad E, Marchant G, Rossant J, Izpisua Belmonte JC, Lovell-Badge R, Jaenisch R, Charo A, Baltimore D.
Cell Stem Cell. 2017; 21(4):423-426
PubMed ID: 28985523

Fostering responsible research with genome editing technologies: a European perspective.
Chneiweiss H, Hirsch F, Montoliu L, Müller AM, Fenet S, Abecassis M, Merchant J, Baertschi B, Botbol-Baum M, Houghton JA, Kritikos M, Mifsud J, Bartnik E, Rath J, Druml C, Friedrich B, Carvalho AS, Lanzerath D, Saint-Raymond A.
Transgenic Res. 2017; 26(5):709-713
PubMed ID: 28730514

Key challenges in bringing CRISPR-mediated somatic cell therapy into the clinic.
Nicol D, Eckstein L, Morrison M, Sherkow JS, Otlowski M, Whitton T, Bubela T, Burdon KP, Chalmers D, Chan S, Charlesworth J, Critchley C, Crossley M, de Lacey S, Dickinson JL, Hewitt AW, Kamens J, Kato K, Kleiderman E, Kodama S, Liddicoat J, Mackey DA, Newson AJ, Nielsen J, Wagner JK, McWhirter RE.
Genome Med. 2017; 9(1):85
PubMed ID: 28946923

Take stock of research ethics in human genome editing.
[No authors listed]
Nature. 2017; 549(7672):307
PubMed ID: 28933445

Designing Methuselah: an ethical argument against germline genetic modification to prolong human longevity.
Robertson IL.
J Med Ethics. 2017; 43(9):645-647
PubMed ID: 28450402

Genome editing: science, ethics, and public engagement.
The Lancet.
Lancet. 2017; 390(10095):625
PubMed ID: 28816123

U.S. attitudes on human genome editing.
Scheufele DA, Xenos MA, Howell EL, Rose KM, Brossard D, Hardy BW.
Science. 2017; 357(6351):553-554
PubMed ID: 28798120

Human Germline Genome Editing.
Ormond KE, Mortlock DP, Scholes DT, Bombard Y, Brody LC, Faucett WA, Garrison NA, Hercher L, Isasi R, Middleton A, Musunuru K, Shriner D, Virani A, Young CE.
Am J Hum Genet. 2017; 101(2):167-176
PubMed ID: 28777929

Genome editing and assisted reproduction: curing embryos, society or prospective parents?
Cavaliere G.
Med Health Care Philos. 2017;
PubMed ID: 28725950

Trust in Science: CRISPR-Cas9 and the Ban on Human Germline Editing.
Guttinger S.
Sci Eng Ethics. 2017;
PubMed ID: 28653169

Ten years of iPSC: clinical potential and advances in vitro hematopoietic differentiation.
Paes BCMF, Moo PD, Pereira CG, Porto GS, de Sousa Russo EM, Reis LCJ, Covas DT, Picano-Castro V.
Cell Biol Toxicol. 2017; 33(3):233-250
PubMed ID: 28039590

Toward Responsible Human Genome Editing.
Hynes RO, Coller BS, Porteus M.
JAMA. 2017; 317(18):1829-1830
PubMed ID: 28395003

The ethics of genome editing in the clinic: A dose of realism for healthcare leaders.
Bubela T, Mansour Y, Nicol D.
Healthc Manage Forum. 2017; 30(3):159-163
PubMed ID: 28929852

How should the applications of genome editing be assessed and regulated?
Fears R, Ter Meulen V.
Healthc Manage Forum. 2017;
PubMed ID: 28375079

The discovery and development of the CRISPR system in applications in genome manipulation.
Lau V, Davie JR.
Biochem Cell Biol. 2017; 95(2):203-210
PubMed ID: 28103055

CRISPR and the Rebirth of Synthetic Biology.
Heidari R, Shaw DM, Elger BS.
Sci Eng Ethics. 2017; 23(2):351-363
PubMed ID: 27325413

[Synthetic genomics: the art of design and synthesis].
Luo Z, Dai J.
Sheng Wu Gong Cheng Xue Bao. 2017; 33(3):331-342
PubMed ID: 28941334

Genome editing: Bioethics shows the way.
Neuhaus CP, Caplan AL.
PLoS Biol. 2017; 15(3):e2001934
PubMed ID: 28301466

The role of scientific self-regulation for the control of genome editing in the human germline: The lessons from the Asilomar and the Napa meetings show how self-regulation and public deliberation can lead to regulation of new biotechnologies.
Gregorowius D, Biller-Andorno N, Deplazes-Zemp A.
EMBO Rep. 2017; 18(3):355-358
PubMed ID: 28219901

Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Human Gene Editing: Scientific, Medical, and Ethical Considerations.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US) 2017;
PubMed ID: 28796468

Exploring the potential of genome editing CRISPR-Cas9 technology.
Singh V, Braddick D, Dhar PK.
Gene. 2017; 599:1-18.
PubMed ID: 27836667

Towards a CRISPR view of early human development: applications, limitations and ethical concerns of genome editing in human embryos.
Plaza Reyes A, Lanner F.
Development. 2017; 144(1):3-7
PubMed ID: 28049687

Reproductive medicine involving genome editing: clinical uncertainties and embryological needs.
Ishii T.
Reprod Biomed Online. 2017; 34(1):27-31
PubMed ID: 27743815

Teilhard de Chardin´s oeuvre within an ongoing discussion of a gene drive release for public health reasons.
Ishii T.
Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2017; 24(6):418-423
PubMed ID: 28885275

Gene Editing in Humans: Towards a Global and Inclusive Debate for Responsible Research.
de Lecuona I, Casado M, Marfany G, Lopez Baroni M, Escarrabill M.
Yale J Biol Med. 2017; 90(4):673-681
PubMed ID: 29259532
DOI: ---

CRISPR-Cas in Medicinal Chemistry: Applications and Regulatory Concerns.
Duardo-Sanchez A.
Curr Top Med Chem. 2017; 17(30):3308-3315
PubMed ID: 29231142

Global bioethics.
Neuhaus CP.
Hastings Cent Rep. 2017; 47(6)
PubMed ID: 29171055

The Council of Europe and the prohibition on human germline genome editing.
Baylis F, Ikemoto L.
EMBO Rep. 2017; 18(12):2084-2085
PubMed ID: 29141984

Ethics and Genetics: Examining a Crossroads in Nursing Through a Case Study.
Beamer LC.
Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2017; 21(6):730-737
PubMed ID: 29149121


Research Translation and Emerging Health Technologies: Synthetic Biology and Beyond.
Chan S.
Health Care Anal. 2016. 1:16
PubMed ID: 27942987

The Ethics of Germline Gene Editing.
Gyngell C, Douglas T, Savulescu J.
J Appl Philos. 2017; 34(4):498-513
PubMed ID: 28919655

Introducing precise genetic modifications into human 3PN embryos by CRISPR/Cas-mediated genome editing.
Kang X, He W, Huang Y, Yu Q, Chen Y, Gao X, Sun X, Fan Y.
J Assist Reprod Genet. 2016; 33(5):581-588
PubMed ID: 27052831
Erratum in: J Assist Reprod Genet. 2017 Jul;34(7):963.

Do Public Involvement Activities in Biomedical Research and Innovation Recruit Representatively? A Systematic Qualitative Review.
Lander J, Hainz T, Hirschberg I, Bossert S, Strech D.
Public Health Genomics. 2016; 19(4):193-202
PubMed ID: 27027649

Emerging ethical perspectives in the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats genome-editing debate.
Camporesi S, Cavaliere G.
Per Med. 2016. 13(6):575-586
PubMed ID: 28757883

Application of the genome editing tool CRISPR/Cas9 in non-human primates.
Luo X, Li M, Su B.
Dongwuxue Yanjiu. 2016. 1837(4):214-9
PubMed ID: 27469252

Genome engineering in ophthalmology: Application of CRISPR/Cas to the treatment of eye disease.
Hung SSC, McCaughey T, Swann O, Pébay A, Hewitt AW.
Prog Retin Eye Res. 2016. 53:1-20
PubMed ID: 27181583

Genome engineering through CRISPR/Cas9 technology in the human germline and pluripotent stem cells.
Vassena R, Heindryckx B, Peco R, Pennings G, Raya A, Sermon K, Veiga A.
Hum Reprod Update. 2016. 22(4):411-9
PubMed ID: 26932460

Ethical and regulatory aspects of genome editing.
Kohn DB, Porteus MH, Scharenberg AM.
Blood. 2016. 127(21):2553-60
PubMed ID: 27053531

Human Genome Editing and Ethical Considerations.
Krishan K, Kanchan T, Singh B.
Sci Eng Ethics. 2016. 22(2):597-9
PubMed ID: 26154417

[The Washington summit: orange light for genome editing?].
Jordan B.
Med Sci (Paris). 2016. 32(2):217-20
PubMed ID: 26936181

"My Life Needs Editing" (Mort Sahl) and Genome Editing Needs Ethics.
Anegon I, Nguyen TH.
Curr Gene Ther. 2016. 16(1):1-2
PubMed ID: 26844694
DOI: ---

An ASGCT Perspective on the National Academies Genome Editing Summit.
Friedmann T.
Mol Ther. 2016. 24(1):1-2
PubMed ID: 26854182


Biotechnology. A prudent path forward for genomic engineering and germline gene modification.
Baltimore D, Berg P, Botchan M, Carroll D, Charo RA, Church G, Corn JE, Daley GQ, Doudna JA, Fenner M, Greely HT, Jinek M, Martin GS, Penhoet E, Puck J, Sternberg SH, Weissman JS, Yamamoto KR.
Science. 2015; 348:(6230):36-8
PubMed ID: 25791083

Don´t edit the human germ line.
Lanphier E, Urnov F, Haecker SE, Werner M, Smolenski J.
Nature 2015; 519:(7544):410-1
PubMed ID: 25810189
Comments in : Germline edits: Trust ethics review process and Germline edits: Heat does not help debate

Genome-editing revolution: My whirlwind year with CRISPR.
Doudna J.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2014. 528(7583):469-71
PubMed ID: 26701037

Genome editing: 4 big questions.
Tauxe W.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2014. 528(7580):S17
PubMed ID: 26630595

Experts back genome editing in human embryo research.
Kmietowicz Z.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2014. 351:h4874
PubMed ID: 26361985

Limits of Responsibility: Genome Editing, Asilomar, and the Politics of Deliberation.
Hurlbut JB.
Hastings Cent Rep. 2015. 45(5):11-4
PubMed ID: 26413760

Germline genome-editing research and its socioethical implications.
Ishii T.
Trends Mol Med. 2015. 21(8):473-81
PubMed ID: 26078206

[The return of germline gene therapy].
Jordan B.
Med Sci (Paris). 2015. 3(6-7):691-5
PubMed ID: 26152176

Neurogenethics: An emerging discipline at the intersection of ethics, neuroscience, and genomics.
Canli T.
Appl Transl Genom. 2015. 5/span>:8-22
PubMed ID: 26937354

Looking forward to genetically edited fruit crops.
Nagamangala Kanchiswamy C, Sargent DJ, Velasco R, Maffei ME, Malnoy M.
Trends Biotechnol. 2015. 33(2):62-4
PubMed ID: 25129425

CRISPR Critters and CRISPR Cracks.
Charo RA, Greely HT.
Am J Bioeth. 2015. 15(12):11-7
PubMed ID: 26632355


International regulatory landscape and integration of corrective genome editing into in vitro fertilization.
Araki M, Ishii T.
Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2014. 12:108
PubMed ID: 25420886

Potential impact of human mitochondrial replacement on global policy regarding germline gene modification.
Ishii T.
Reprod Biomed Online. 2014. 29(2):150-5.
PubMed ID: 24832374