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NanoEthics

pp 1–10 | Cite as

From Asilomar to Genome Editing: Research Ethics and Models of Decision

  • Fabrizio RufoEmail author
  • Antonella Ficorilli
Original Research Paper

Abstract

The aim of the presentation is to focus on the differences between two scientific contexts: the genetic engineering context of the 1970s, with specific attention paid to the use of the recombinant DNA technique to generate genetically modified molecules, and the current genome editing context, with specific attention paid to the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to modify human germ line cells genetically. In both events, scientists have been involved in discussions that have gone beyond mere professional deontology touching on specific policy issues such as freedom of research, responsibility for the consequences of research, the right of the public to participate in the evaluation of the goals of research methods, the relationship between cost and benefit and possible social consequences. The comparison between these two scientific contexts suggests the need of handling such issues by defining procedures that meet the criteria of democracy and responsibility towards society. The underlying objective should be to effectively launch actions and interventions based not on a hierarchical approach but rather a reticular conception of knowledge.

Keywords

Asilomar conference Genome editing Democratic governance Policy Ethics Social responsibility 

Notes

Information About Attribution

The “Introduction” and the “Conclusion” sections are to be attributed to both authors; “Recombinant DNA and the Asilomar Conference (1975)” is to be attributed to Fabrizio Rufo; “2015: CRISPR-Cas9 Technology and Human Genome Editing” is to be attributed to Antonella Ficorilli.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they don't have potential conflicts of interest; the paper is not part of research involving human participants and/or animals; for the characteristics of the paper, no informed consent is required.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia AmbientaleSapienza Università di RomaRomeItaly
  2. 2.Epidemiologia e Prevenzione “Giulio A. Maccacaro” Social EnterpriseMilanoItaly

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