While CRISPR/Cas9 has become a lightning rod for fears about humanity’s increasing capacity to engineer biological life, the mainstream of Anglo-American bioethics struggles to discern much wrong with genome editing of human beings in vitro. In this paper, we analyze the notion of biopolitics and consider what contribution it may make to debates on genome editing. We disambiguate the different senses of two key terms: ‘biopolitics’, and ‘life’, and try to show how particular authors in the biopolitics literature draw on and emphasize different versions of these concepts. In the final section of the paper, we venture some suggestions as to the contribution that a number of these approaches might make to moving beyond a focus on risk and individual liberty to address the urgent bioethical questions surrounding the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to edit the human genome.
- Gene editing
- Genome editing