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Public views on gene editing and its uses

Gaskell, George, Bard, Imre ORCID: 0000-0001-6395-0335, Allansdottir, Agnes, da Cunha, Rui Vieira, Eduard, Peter, Hampel, Juergen, Hildt, Elisabeth, Hofmaier, Christian, Kronberger, Nicole, Laursen, Sheena, Meijknecht, Anna, Nordal, Salvör, Quintanilha, Alexandre, Revuelta, Gema, Saladié, Núria, Sándor, Judit, Santos, Júlio Borlido, Seyringer, Simone, Singh, Ilina, Somsen, Han, Toonders, Winnie, Torgersen, Helge, Torre, Vincent, Varju, Márton and Zwart, Hub (2017) Public views on gene editing and its uses. Nature Biotechnology, 35 (11). pp. 1021-1023. ISSN 1087-0156

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Identification Number: 10.1038/nbt.3958


This paper reports on an online contrastive vignette study investigating the public's views of gene editing for therapy and enhancement in adult and prenatal contexts. The study, comprising quota samples of 1000 respondents per country, involved 10 European countries and the United States. Vignettes featuring gene editing for therapy compared to enhancement are seen as more morally acceptable and gain more support. Adult therapy attracts majority support, while prenatal enhancement elicits almost complete rejection. The assessment of adult enhancement and prenatal therapy are more ambivalent. These results and the respondents’ accounts of the reasons behind the decision point to a focus on the uses of gene editing, rather than the technology itself. The study is a contribution to understanding the practical dimensions of the ethical question: how can gene editing contribute to human flourishing?

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Nature America, Inc., part of Springer Nature.
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2018 15:06
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 03:07

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