Case Study on New Gene Editing techniques (CRISPR-Cas9)

New gene-editing techniques such as CRISPR-Cas, hailed as a “gene editing revolution”, have increased the precision and ease of use of genetic modification. However, although societal and political debate about the risks of these technologies is less heated than past discussions about other gene editing methods, the extent to which these techniques substantially differ remains contested. Moreover, widespread availability of technologies for editing plant, animal and even human DNA-material increases the scope of application. Examples of possible real-world applications are CRISPR-Cas9 gene drives that make it possible to quickly adapt the DNA within populations of disease-transmitting insects, gene therapy and human germ line editing. Uncertainty about potentially serious and systemic risks make this case relevant to the precautionary principle.



In this video, Dr. Rosanne Edelenbosch, researcher at the Rathenau Institute, gives a short introduction into the many uncertainties and complexities in the governance of gene drives. This new technology enables the spreading artificially modified genes through wild populations of plants or animals. Is it possible to develop safe gene drives?

Partner: Rathenau Institute


Dr. Rosanne Edelenbosch, researcher, Rathenau Institute

Dr. ir. Petra Verhoef, coordinator, Rathenau Institute

Tijs Sikma, researcher, Rathenau Institute


Video recording: Dr. Rosanne Edelenbosch (Rathenau Institute)

Animation: Lena Aebli (Ecologic Institute)

Produced by Ecologic Institute 2020,

Case Study
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