CRISPR-Cas9 and the Promise of a Better Future

In: European Journal of Health Law
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  • 1 Faculty of Law, University of Macau, Macau, China

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Due to its simplicity, low cost and accuracy, CRISPR-Cas9 has become a promising new technique in the field of gene editing. However, despite its virtues, it is not yet immune to scientific hazards and ethical legal concerns. These concerns have been used to justify opposition to genetic manipulation, and have led to some regulations to ban or impose a moratorium based on the precautionary principle. In Europe, regulation mostly comes from the European Union and the Council of Europe, both very cautious towards gene editing. In this article, two arguments on the future legal framework of CRISPR-Cas9 are made. The first is that continued research will contribute to more scientific accuracy; thus, the precautionary principle should promote regulated research to achieve this aim. The second is that most of the legal and ethical concerns surrounding CRISPR-Cas9 are based on unfounded prejudice emanating from a mystical understanding of the human genome.