The discovery of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and the CRISPR-mediated protein 9 (CRISPR-Cas9) immediately revealed numerous potential therapeutic applications. Although CRISPR-Cas9 will most likely be useful for addressing issues such as genetic diseases and related medical issues, use of this modality for germline modification generates complex ethical questions regarding the safety and efficacy, human genetic enhancement, and “designer” babies. In this article, the case of the He Jiankui affair is used as an example of the potential for unregulated use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology. In 2018, Dr He Jiankui reported that he had successfully edited human embryos. This work clearly violates all international principles of bioethics. As such, the purpose of this paper is to explore the ethical challenges inherent in the use of CRISPR-Cas9 for human germline editing from the perspectives of the goals of Islamic law (Maqasid al Shari'a) and the major jurisprudential maxims (Qawaid Fiqhiyyah). We argue that from an Islamic standpoint, the therapeutic application of CRISPR-Cas9 for germline editing may be permissible if the safety and efficacy concerns are resolved and if the principles of Maqasid al-Shari'a are fulfilled.
Asian Bioethics Review – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 20, 2021