Asian Bioethics Review

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 133–141 | Cite as

Risks and benefits of human germline genome editing: An ethical analysis

  • Giovanni RubeisEmail author
  • Florian Steger
Original Paper


With the arrival of new methods of genome editing, especially CRISPR/Cas 9, new perspectives on germline interventions have arisen. Supporters of germ line genome editing (GGE) claim that the procedure could be used as a means of disease prevention. As a possible life-saving therapy, it provides benefits that outweigh its risks. Opponents of GGE claim that the medical and societal risks, especially the use of GGE for genetic enhancement, are too high. In our paper, we analyze the risks and benefits of GGE. We show that the medical risk on an individual level might be reduced by further research in the near future so that they may be outweighed by the benefits. We also show that the societal risks of the procedure, i.e. genetic enhancement, are manageable by establishing a regulative framework before the GGE is implemented. Since the effects of modifying genes for the genepool of a given population are extremely difficult to model, the medical risks on the population level might be too high.


Bioethics CRISPR/Cas9 Disease prevention Genome editing Germ cells Germline therapy 


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Copyright information

© National University of Singapore and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of the History, Philosophy and Ethics of MedicineUlm UniversityUlmGermany

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