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Genome editing - an ethical review

This review considers the impact of recent advances in genome editing, which have diffused rapidly across many fields of biological research, and the range of ethical questions to which they give rise. It was carried out by an interdisciplinary Working Group that included expertise in science, law, philosophy, ethics, sociology and industry. In coming to its conclusions, the Working Group invited contributions from a wide range of people, including through an open call for evidence that ran from November 2015 until February 2016.

Genome editing - an ethical review.
Image: Nuffield Council for Bioethics

The review sets out our preliminary findings on the impact of genome editing across different areas of biological research and applications, and the range of questions to which this gives rise.

In this report, we identified two applications of genome editing technologies that require urgent ethical scrutiny and which we will investigate further as two distinct inquiries:

  • Genome editing and human reproduction (report published July 2018)
  • Genome editing and farmed animals (current inquiry)


  • Gene therapy
  • Genome editing
  • Selective breeding
  • Publisher
    Nuffield Council on Bioethics