Gene editing: Medicine or enhancement?

Marcos Alonso, Jonathan Anomaly, Julian Savulescu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In this paper we will discuss the status of gene editing technologies like CRISPR. We will examine whether this technology should be considered a form of enhancement, or if CRISPR is merely a medical technology analogous to many of the common medical interventions of today. The importance of this discussion arises from the enormous potential of CRISPR to increase human health and welfare. If we interrupt or delay its investigation and implementation based on misconceptions about its nature and consequences, we may fail to achieve great benefits. Clarifying what CRISPR is and how it compares to other medical procedures should create the right environment to discuss its development and introduction in society. We argue that gene editing is both a conventional medical technology and a potential human enhancer. It is important to separate these different applications. Just as in the cloning debate, it is possible to sort out therapeutic gene editing from enhancement gene editing in considering regulation or policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-276
Number of pages18
JournalRamon Llull Journal of Applied Ethics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2021


  • Bioethics
  • Biotechnology
  • Enhancement
  • Gene editing


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