Toward anticipatory governance of human genome editing: A critical review of scholarly governance discourse

John P. Nelson
Cynthia L. Selin
Christopher T. Scott
This piece uses the framework of anticipatory governance to analyze the existing scholarly discourse on the governance of human genome editing. The authors argue that this governance discourse almost without exception does not meet the standards of anticipatory governance and are often content to merely call for greater public participation in governance without further elaboration. They argue that implementing anticipatory governance within the space of human genome editing would be a step toward aligning its development with social needs and values. They argue that it helps address the limitations of typical governance frameworks, for example, their tendency to limit public participation to the later stages of technological development, their focus on conditions of permissibility for narrow applications of human genome editing, or their tendencies to dismiss public concerns as irrelevant or ill-founded. Overall, the authors provide a comprehensive critique of the existing literature while providing suggestions for enriching governance debates around human genome editing.