The CRISPR Journal
Volume 3, Issue 3 / June 2020
What Do We (Not) Know About Global Views of Human Gene Editing? Insights and Blind Spots in the CRISPR Era
Emily L. Howell, Shiyu Yang, Becca Beets, Dominique Brossard, Dietram A. Scheufele, and
Michael A. Xenos
Published Online:17 June 2020
As research on human applications of CRISPR advances, researchers, advisory bodies, and other stakeholder organizations continue calling for global public discourses and engagement to shape the development of human gene editing (HGE). Research that captures public views and tests ways for engaging across viewpoints is vital for facilitating these discourses. Unfortunately, such research lags behind advances in HGE research and applications. Here, we provide the first review of nationally representative public-opinion surveys focused on HGE to discuss limitations and remaining gaps, illustrating how these gaps hinder interpretation of existing studies. Rigorous research with proper methods for capturing representative public opinion of HGE is limited, especially in countries outside of the United States and on a global scale. The result is severely restricted understanding of even the surface level of public views concerning HGE. We identify broad areas where we need more and better research capturing public views, and describe how future surveys can help collect insights necessary for discourse and decision making on HGE.