Vulnerability and the Ethics of Human Germline Genome Editing

Markus K. Labude, Vicki Xafis, Poh San Lai, Catherine Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The concept of vulnerability has played an important role in theoretical bioethics as well as in numerous authoritative guidelines on research ethics. The concept helps to identify situations in which research participants and other individuals may be at a heightened risk of experiencing harm. However, existing guidance documents on the ethics of human germline gene editing largely fail to make any reference to considerations of vulnerability. In this article, we discuss this oversight and we highlight the role that vulnerability can play in ethical debates about human heritable genome editing. Future guidance documents on germline gene editing should pay attention to considerations of vulnerability and reference these appropriately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-363
Number of pages6
JournalCRISPR Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

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