Attitudes Toward Hypothetical Uses of Gene-Editing Technologies in Parents of People with Autosomal Aneuploidies

CRISPR J. 2019 Oct;2(5):324-330. doi: 10.1089/crispr.2019.0021.


Researchers are exploring the use of gene-editing technologies to prevent and/or treat genetic conditions in humans. Stakeholder views, including those of patient and family populations, are important in the ongoing bioethical discussion. We conducted 27 semi-structured interviews with parents of people with trisomy 21 (T21; N = 10), trisomy 18 (T18; N = 8), and trisomy 13 (T13; N = 9)-conditions not previously studied in regard to attitudes toward hypothetical gene editing. While many discussions focus on the morality of gene editing, parents in our study focused on quality of life and concerns about changing their children's identity. All participants prioritized ameliorating life-threatening health issues when those were present; many also emphasized increasing their children's communication and cognitive ability. These results suggest that patient populations with the lived experience of genetic conditions have unique concerns that may differ from broader discourse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Chromosome Disorders / genetics
  • Chromosome Disorders / psychology*
  • Down Syndrome / genetics
  • Down Syndrome / psychology
  • Female
  • Gene Editing / ethics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods
  • Quality of Life
  • Stakeholder Participation / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trisomy / genetics
  • Trisomy 13 Syndrome / genetics
  • Trisomy 13 Syndrome / psychology
  • Trisomy 18 Syndrome / genetics
  • Trisomy 18 Syndrome / psychology