The completion of the human genome project led to advances both in technology and information availability. The potential of gene editing is tremendous. In the foreseeable future, scientists and doctors will be capable of repairing defective genes within humans (as is being done in other species) as a means to treat or potentially eliminate specific diseases. There are ethical dilemmas with the use of this technology, including who decides whether someone can or should be treated, and what diseases or traits should be altered. We surveyed undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines about some bioethical issues. With the data collected, we show that, in general, students are in favor of using gene editing technology to help cure disease in adults and children, but less willing to support the use in treating cells prior to fertilization. There is less support for altering non-disease characteristics (e.g. hair color, intelligence, or athletic ability), but male students tend to be more supportive of the use of this technology in this area than female students.
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Vol. 90 • No. 2