Accepted Paper:

Governing human germ line editing: challenges from a global perspective   

Author:

Achim Rosemann (University of Warwick)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation explores key challenges to the development of governance mechanisms for human germ line editing research, from a global perspective. Developments in gene editing are discussed in relation to regulatory challenges in stem cell research, genetic testing and reproductive medicine.

Paper long abstract:

This presentation explores key challenges to the development and implementation of effective governance mechanisms to human germ line editing research, from a global perspective. Background: Basic and preclinical research that involves the genetic editing of human gametes and embryos is now a reality, and has been permitted by regulatory authorities in various countries. This research is paralleled by research into the genetic modification of animals and animal models for human disease and potential forms of (human and animal) "enhancement". These developments coincide with other advances in the life sciences: the artificial creation of human gametes, the continuing expansion of new forms of genetic testing, as well as the emergence of large-scale cloning facilities, which allow for the commercial circulation of designer animals, including for non-medical and home use.

This presentation reflects on the assumption that, taken together, these technology developments will encourage human applications and gradually "normalize" the concept of designer biology, also in the context of humans and human reproduction. The paper suggests that the first clinical applications of human germ line modifications are likely to emerge in the context of regulatory grey areas and in countries where the implementation of international standards is either contested or difficult to achieve. I will substantiate this claim by discussing developments in gene editing research, in relation to regulatory challenges and uncontrolled grey area applications in three other technologies fields of the life and health sciences: unproven clinical stem cell treatments, direct-to-consumer genetic testing and reproductive tourism in a transnational market space.

Panel T173
Gene Editing in Context: Challenges and Emerging Practices