The CRISPR Journal
Volume 3, Issue 2 / April 2020
Ethics and Global Governance of Human Germline Genome Editing: The Problem of Techno-Scientific Colonialist Paternalism
Published Online:21 April 2020
I want to enrich the debate about the ethics and governance of human germline editing (HGE) by emphasizing an underappreciated, yet important, set of concerns regarding exclusionary practices, norms, and efforts that impede a broader discussion about the subject. The possibility for establishing a binding, global, regulatory framework is influenced by economic and geopolitical factors as well as historical processes and sociopolitical problems, such as anti-scientific social movements and the politicization of science. Likewise, it is influenced by different understanding, epistemic resources, and goals between the CRISPR/genome editing community and the rest of society. In this Perspective, I explain the concept of “techno-scientific colonialist paternalism” and why it negatively affects our discussion around HGE. I also discuss the pitfalls of scientific self-regulation, and finally, I advocate that the implementation of HGE should cease to allow time and care for a thoughtful global discussion to emerge.