What ethical rules should guide using CRISPR in people?

Last November, scientist He Jiankui claimed he had edited the genomes of twin girls with the CRISPR/Cas technology, news that shook the scientific world.

“There was this uproar… It became a topic for everybody,” says Effy Vayena, professor of bioethics at ETH Zurich. “At the time, the topic was, ‘We are all shocked. What are we going do with this? Something is really wrong.’

“I think after that, the dust seemed to have settled a little bit, and then, it’s interesting, because the direction went towards, ‘Okay, that was the wrong thing. Let’s find a way to do this in the right way.’ […] We didn’t so much go back to the question, ‘Should we be doing this?'”

In this podcast episode, Vayena and Hantao Zhao, a PhD student at Disney Research and the chair of cognitive science, discuss the ethical implications of this case.

The two also discuss whether the nationality of researchers plays a role in ethical views and how global competition in science influences ethical decisions.

Source: ETH Zurich