Journal article

Germline Gene Editing and the Precautionary Principle

Julian J Koplin, Christopher Gyngell, Julian Savulescu

Bioethics | Wiley | Published : 2020


The precautionary principle aims to influence decision‐making in contexts where some activity poses uncertain but potentially grave threats. This perfectly describes the controversy surrounding germline gene editing. This article considers whether the precautionary principle should influence how we weigh the risks and benefits of human germline interventions, focusing especially on the possible threats to the health of future generations. We distinguish between several existing forms of the precautionary principle, assess their plausibility and consider their implications for the ethics of germline modification. We also offer a novel form of the precautionary principle: the sufficientarian p..

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Awarded by Wellcome Trust

Funding Acknowledgements

JK, CG and JS are funded through their involvement with the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and received funding from the Victorian State Government through the Operational Infrastructure Support Program. JS received funding through the Wellcome Trust (WT203132/Z/16/Z).