Ethical Implications of CRISPR-cas9 Gene-Editing Technology

Gene-editing is a process within genetic engineering through which scientists and researchers can alter, add, and even remove the DNA of a living organism.  On the cutting-edge of this field is a technology known as CRISPR-cas9. CRISPR, which stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, is a gene editing method derived from a biological process in bacteria, and cas-9 is the associated enzyme of the system whose role is to cut the DNA.  This tool is extremely powerful, so there are naturally many ethical implications to consider, especially with the rate at which technology is advancing.  The goal of this research is to investigate those implications and issues and to present them in a way that is understandable to the general public.  This includes potential new scientists in the field and policy makers, as all should be aware of what technology is capable of, despite its complexities.  This information will be communicated through a literature review.  The review will be created through a three-part process.  First, the mechanism of CRISPR-cas9 itself will be investigated, then the ethics of science, including previous innovations and their long term affects, will be reviewed.  Lastly, these two components will be synthesized into a cohesive guide to what the advanced gene-editing of CRISPR-cas9 could mean ethically to individuals and society as a whole.