Dept. of Political Science, Public Administration and Nonprofit Management


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Policies and laws regarding human health require continual examination as technologies improve, and genetic editing technologies that have the ability to modify a person’s DNA are unquestionably relevant to examine. The technologies most intriguing to investigate are those with the ability to directly edit the nuclear genes (segments of DNA within the nucleus of cells) through techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9 and Cpf1. This study intends to answer the questions of how should policy develop to accommodate for the improving medical technology of genetic editing and how could genetic editing technologies affect the legal status of personhood for the purposes of international human rights law? In my research, I use the examples of in vitro fertilization (IVF) on health law, specifically its varying interpretations of the legal status of personhood, as a scientific and legal precedent to genetic editing. In relating IVF to the CRISPR-Cas9 technique, an evaluative basis for analysis and future research emerges to advise as technologies continually improve. The second part describes both the ethical and legal considerations that need be considered as the genetic editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 evolves. CRISPR-Cas9 is used as the primary example of gene editing techniques because it is the current leading technique of genetic editing and is cheap, quick, and easy to use. The outcome of this research is the provision of a concise theory as to how law and policy should develop to accommodate advances in the medical technology of genetic editing.


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




genetic editing; policy; CRISPR; personhood; regulation

Document Type





Under copyright.


Date Available