Ethical Considerations of Stem Cell Research: From Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells to Gene Editing
Just a few years after their discovery, the reprogramming of adult cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and gene editing tools such as CRISPR hold great promise for advancing science and disease treatment. However, the societal, ethical and personal implications of these powerful new technologies are making us ask “what can we do?” and “what should we do?” We will discuss if iPSC cells can replace human embryonic stem cells (hESC) as a source of pluripotent cells and if they resolve ethical dilemmas facing stem cell research. We will also discuss ethical concerns about the use of CRISPR gene editing, a “search and replace” tool to alter DNA with unprecedented precision, to make human germline modifications that could be passed on to future generations. Our conversation will be framed in the context of “Civic Science”, an emerging discipline that considers scientific practices and scientific knowledge as resources for public engagement and civic change. We will examine “Civic Science” approaches that can help us consider how these new technologies might advance science for the public good.
See him rap to teach students about Stem Cell biology here!