Cutting Edge Ethics: Society’s Imminent Need for a Response to CRISPR
Monday, April 9, 2019, 3:00 PM | Room 7
In today’s day and age, the developed world is experiencing a boom in biological advances. The revolutionary gene editing tool known as CRISPR is a device that has the ability to edit the base pairs of a gene. This advancement brings the possibility of not merely treating genetic diseases, such as Cystic Fibrosis, but curing them. Along with these great advances have come unintended possibilities; before we charge head first into this new territory, we must take a step back and assess the potential consequences. My project will begin by explaining the CRISPR technology and how it works, followed by a brief history on gene editing. This will lay the foundation for the reader to understand the significance of this technology. The project will then dive into what we know to be possible with CRISPR as well as the ethical debate regarding its use. I will attempt to determine in what circumstances the use of this new technology is ethical and in what circumstances it is not, both from a secular and Catholic perspective. CRISPR will first be looked at through a Catholic lens in order to understand the reasons for the beliefs that they hold regarding this technology. When looking at CRISPR through a secular lens, the ethical question is convoluted. The secular ethics will be evaluated by the possibility for good, weighed against its risk. The goal of this project to understand what the future looks like for this technology and what we, as a society, have to do to make sure that it is used safely, responsibly, and ethically.