Funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)
Project duration: 2019–2021
Since the development of CRISPR/Cas genome editing tools, the ethical and legal debate on genome modifications, especially germline, has been emerging quickly. COMPASS-ELSI broadens the scope of this discussion, on both the somatic and the germline level, as regards a comparative analysis of scenarios of epigenome editing and applications of genome editing in humans. The interdisciplinary team also includes a cooperation with scientific experts (Grimm lab) who work with CRISPR/Cas applications. The comparative analysis aims at assessing whether the current legal framework fits those applications in medicine, and intends to develop sound and valid ethical and legal criteria of and for a discussion of germline and somatic (epi)genome modifications. It will be complemented by an examination of those concepts from the perspective of philosophy of language, investigating whether the language aligns with normatively relevant aspects of these technologies.
Close cooperation with researchers from Heidelberg as well as within an international advisory board allows for an adequate representation of the necessary biological knowledge and an empirically informed ethical as well as legal analysis that facilitates applicable and realistic results. The advisory board will also foster communication and discussions of the ethical and legal recommendations developed during this project with experts and regulatory bodies in Germany and the EU.