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03-12-2019 | Original Research Paper | Issue 3/2019

NanoEthics 3/2019

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

Journal:
NanoEthics > Issue 3/2019
Authors:
Fabrizio Rufo, Antonella Ficorilli
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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.

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