Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 374 (1772), 20180106

The Ethics of Genome Editing in Non-Human Animals: A Systematic Review of Reasons Reported in the Academic Literature

Affiliations

The Ethics of Genome Editing in Non-Human Animals: A Systematic Review of Reasons Reported in the Academic Literature

Nienke de Graeff et al. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci.

Abstract

In recent years, new genome editing technologies have emerged that can edit the genome of non-human animals with progressively increasing efficiency. Despite ongoing academic debate about the ethical implications of these technologies, no comprehensive overview of this debate exists. To address this gap in the literature, we conducted a systematic review of the reasons reported in the academic literature for and against the development and use of genome editing technologies in animals. Most included articles were written by academics from the biomedical or animal sciences. The reported reasons related to seven themes: human health, efficiency, risks and uncertainty, animal welfare, animal dignity, environmental considerations and public acceptability. Our findings illuminate several key considerations about the academic debate, including a low disciplinary diversity in the contributing academics, a scarcity of systematic comparisons of potential consequences of using these technologies, an underrepresentation of animal interests, and a disjunction between the public and academic debate on this topic. As such, this article can be considered a call for a broad range of academics to get increasingly involved in the discussion about genome editing, to incorporate animal interests and systematic comparisons, and to further discuss the aims and methods of public involvement. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'The ecology and evolution of prokaryotic CRISPR-Cas adaptive immune systems'.

Keywords: Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeat; environment; ethics; genome editing; human health.

Conflict of interest statement

We declare we have no competing interests.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 2 articles

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback