How Scientists Perceive CRISPR's Translational Promise and the Implications for Individuals with Genetic Conditions

Ethics Hum Res. 2021 Nov;43(6):28-41. doi: 10.1002/eahr.500108.


CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) somatic genome editing, an important promissory technology, presents a case study of the movement of basic scientists into translational research. In this paper, we explore how scientists experience the pulls of CRISPR's power and the pushes of economic and societal pressures in adopting new translational roles. Given basic scientists' emerging contact with and influence upon individuals with genetic conditions, we also examine how scientists understand the perspectives of affected populations, both as potential subjects of early experiments and as the patients who could receive future treatments. Finally, we consider the ethical implications of our findings and call for innovative approaches to translational research that help scientists engage with people with genetic conditions in early translational research.

Keywords: CRISPR; CRISPR-based treatments; clinical trials; genetic conditions; genetic diseases; genetic medicine; human gene editing; human subjects research; somatic gene editing; translational research; translational scientists.

MeSH terms

  • Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats* / genetics
  • Gene Editing*
  • Humans