Controlling CRISPR Through Law: Legal Regimes as Precautionary Principles

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Since its advent in 2012, CRISPR has spawned a cottage industry of bioethics literature. One principal criticism of the technology is its virtually instant widespread adoption prior to deliberative bodies conducting a meaningful ethical review of its harms and benefits—a violation, to some, of bioethics' “precautionary principle.” This view poorly considers, however, the role that the law can play—and does, in fact, play—in policing the introduction of ethically problematic uses of the technology. This Perspective recounts these legal regimes, including regulatory agencies and premarket approval, tort law and deterrence, patents and ethical licenses, funding agencies and review boards, as well as local politics. Identifying these legal regimes and connecting them to the precautionary principle should be instructive for bioethicists and policy makers who wish to conduct ethical reviews of new applications of CRISPR prior to their introduction.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-303
JournalCRISPR Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


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