University of Twente Student Theses


CRISPR ethics & imagination : an evaluation of the role of DIY-CRISPR kit in Crispr-Cas9 deliberations

Joshy, Ammu (2018) CRISPR ethics & imagination : an evaluation of the role of DIY-CRISPR kit in Crispr-Cas9 deliberations.

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Abstract:The DIY-CRISPR kit was introduced in 2016 by The ODIN company. This kit which includes materials and instructions required to make specific alterations to the bacterial genome at home is a product of the Do-It-Yourself biology movement. The DIYbio movement is a worldwide phenomenon in which amateurs, students, hobbyists, scientists, artists and designers are engaged in activities relating to biology and biological materials outside of scientific institutions. By addressing the question: Can DIY-CRISPR kit enrich the ethical deliberation and evaluation of CRISPR technology by stimulating imagination? If so how? in this thesis, I discern the value of the kit within the context of CRISPR related participatory technology assessments. Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats(CRISPR), referred to as CRISPR-Cas9, is a genome-editing tool that has been gaining the attention of scientists and ethicists around the globe over the past few years as it allows making site-specific modifications to genomes of organisms in a precise and inexpensive manner. Based on an analysis of the ethical concerns raised in relation to the desirability of CRISPR, I argue that the quality of current ethical discussion on CRISPR is poor and less imaginative due to the lack of weight given to soft impacts in comparison to hard impacts. Activities under the DIYbio movement, especially bioart, according to few authors have the potential to evoke imagination and thereby, raise ethical questions that are beyond the usual risk-benefit concerns. Based on the theories in moral philosophy which hold that moral reasoning is imaginative, I formulate a set of questions that act as an evaluative criterion for assessing the imaginative potential of the kit and its use.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:02 science and culture in general, 08 philosophy, 42 biology
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
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