Technologies like CRISPR and gene drives are ushering in a new era of genetic engineering, wherein the technical means to modify DNA are cheaper, faster, more accurate, more widely accessible, and with more far-reaching effects than ever before. These cutting-edge technologies raise legal, ethical, cultural, and ecological questions that are so broad and consequential for both human and other-than-human life that they can be difficult to grasp. What is clear, however, is that the power to directly alter not just a singular form of life but also the genetics of entire species and thus the composition of ecosystems is currently both inadequately regulated and undertheorized. In Gene Editing, Law, and the Environment, distinguished scholars from law, the life sciences, philosophy, environmental studies, science and technology studies, animal health, and religious studies examine what is at stake with these new biotechnologies for life and law, both human and beyond.
Braverman and the impressive group of authors she assembled lead us through provocative research at the frontiers of biotechnology. This cutting-edge collection is sure to stimulate urgent conversations at the intersection of science and society, which are much needed at this time of awesome and challenging discoveries.
James P. Collins
Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment, Arizona State University
With this heady mix of essays by prominent authors from multiple disciplines, editor Irus Braverman accomplishes the nearly impossible: she orchestrates a real-time "constitutional conversation" on the future of the human, as rapidly evolving biological techniques seem to empower humanity to control its own evolution.
Director, Program on Science, Technology and Society, Harvard Kennedy School
Braverman's superb volume on gene editing provides thought-provoking, broad perspectives from some of the most significant scholars, scientists, ethicists, and environmentalists in their fields. Given the imminence of the dispersal of new gene editing technologies like CRISPR, this masterful collection of probing essays is both timely and important. Braverman's eye for structure, voice, and perspective sets the stage for some of the most difficult legal and ethical issues of gene editing that society will be debating for years to come.
Jacob S. Sherkow, New York Law School
Affiliated Faculty, Innovation Center for Law and Technology
Editing the Environment: Emerging Issues in Genetics and the Law
PART I Conserving Nature, Driving Evolution
1 Rules for Sculpting Ecosystems: Gene Drives and Responsive Science
KEVIN M. ESVELT
2 Gene Drives and Species Conservation: An Ethical Analysis
3 Gene Drives, Nature, Governance: An Ethnographic Perspective
PART II Technologies of Governance
4 Laws of Containment: Control Without Limits in the New Biology
J. BENJAMIN HURLBUT
5 Vigilante Environmentalism: Are Gene Drives Changing How We Value and Govern Ecosystems?
6 Controlling Our "Nature": Gene Editing in Law and in the Arts
PART III Human-Nonhuman Boundaries, Worked and Reworked
7 Sex, Lies, and Genetic Engineering: Why We Must (But Won’t) Ban Human Embryo Modification
STUART A. NEWMAN
8 Domestic Dogs, Gene Repair, and the "One Health" Approach
ALEXANDER J. TRAVIS
9 Digital Enchantment: Life and the Future of Gene Editing
Governing Gene Editing: A Constitutional Conversation
Traditionally, the role of law has been to implement political decisions concerning the relationship between science and society. Increasingly, however, as our understanding of the complex dynamic between law, science and society deepens, this instrumental characterisation is seen to be inadequate, but as yet we have only a limited conception of what might take its place. In short, there is a need for new research and scholarship, and it is to that need that this series responds.