University Research Priority Program (URPP) “Human Reproduction Reloaded | H2R”
Scientific Competence Centers & Academic Networks and Initiatives
As part of the strategic orientation of the research conducted at the University of Zurich, the University Research Priority Program (URPP) “Human Reproduction Reloaded” | H2R will explore for 8 years, the rapidly changing medical technology on human reproduction and its sociological, societal, ethical and legal implications. In particular, this interdisciplinary URPP seeks to understand and provide policy guidance on the societal impact and legal challenges of such technology. Moreover, it aims at exploring the aspirations, limitations, and ethical considerations of assisted reproductive technologies (ART).
The range of reproductive options investigated by the URPP H2R includes the potential future scenarios that rely on CRISPR-based technologies. The opportunities and risks of human germline editing using the CRISPR technology are being discussed extensively worldwide. Genetic modification of the germline with CRISPR might represent a promising approach for curing monogenetic disorders (e.g. cystic fibrosis), and for reducing genetic risk factors associated with common chronic diseases in which multiple genes interact with environmental factors (e.g. obesity, coronary heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple cancers). However, the consequences of such modifications for future generations are still unclear; indications are ambiguous, and technical feasibility is challenging. Here, we intend to evaluate opportunities, risks, and limitations specific to the CRISPR technology for germline editing.