CRISPiRATES Nation

This fictional scenario imagines a state in which genome editing is entirely legal. According to the CRISPiRATES manifesto, all citizens have “the right to crispr” for playful creation and the greater good of organisms.The CRISPiRATES MICRONATION is located in the atlantic just outside of EU international waters and maintains an embassy at the TU campus in Munich. Housing and laboratory facilities are constructed on floating islands of giant genetically engineered kelp. To its inhabitants, the CRISPiRATES manifesto provides a guideline. Two problems which arise in the CRISPiRATES nation were debated and solved during the crispr.kitchen in the CRISPiRATES nation embassy in munich.


CRISPiRATES Manifesto

  1. We are CRISPR-POSITIVE. Everybody has the right to CRISPR. The world needs freedom of gene expression and gene assembly. Use CRISPR for playful creation and the greater good of organisms.
  2. Nature has the fundamental right to exchange genetic information. All organisms, modified or not, are an equal and integral part of nature. They are the result of unguided and guided evolutionary change.
  3. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude to their genomes. We are not incarcerated by the genomes we are born with. With CRISPR we emancipate our bodies and accelerate the organisms to post-species evolution
  4. Genome diversity is critical to the survival of life. We welcome and encourage all forms and mutations and genetic mobilities.


ethical dilemmata arising in the CRISPiRATE Nation

SCENARIO #1: MERMAID FANTASY

CRISPiRATE citizen A has an obsession with marine life and begins to edit itself to grow scales, fins, and gills. CRISPiRATE citizen B is deeply offended by this, and considers it akin to bestiality. CRISPiRATE B decides to take action, bringing a complaint case to the Science and Ethics Advisory Board, Citizen C.

SCENARIO #2: CRISPR YOUR SISTER

The incest taboo is among the most widespread of all cultural taboos. Is maintenance of the taboo plausible in a community, which has the ability to counterbalance genetic disorders from inbreed?


CRISPiRATE Nation Anthem

Die Gene sind frei

1. Die Gene sind frei, wer kann sie erraten,
sie fliegen vorbei wie nächtliche Schatten.
Kein Mensch kann sie wissen, kein Jäger erschießen
mit Pulver und Blei: Die Gene sind frei!

2. Ich crispr was ich will und was mich beglücket,
doch alles in der Still', und wie es sich schicket.
Mein Wunsch und Begehren kann niemand verwehren,
es bleibet dabei: Die Gene sind frei!

3. Und sperrt man sie ein im finsteren Laboren,
das alles sind rein vergebliche Werke.
Denn meine Genome zerreißen die Schranken
und Mauern entzwei: Die Gene sind frei!

4. Drum will ich auf immer der Vorsorg‘ entsagen
und will mich auch nimmer mit containment mehr plagen.
Man kann ja im Herzen stets lachen und scherzen
und denken dabei: Die Gene sind frei!

The Genes are free

1. Genes are free, who can guess them?
They fly by like nocturnal shadows.
No man can know them, no hunter can shoot them
with powder and lead: Genes are free!

2. I crispr what I want, and what delights me,
still always reticent, and as it is suitable.
My wish and desire, no one can deny me
and so it will always be: Genes are free!

3. And if they am thrown into the darkest Laboratories,
all these are futile works,
because my genomes tear all gates
and walls apart: Genes are free!

4. So I will renounce precautionary principles
and never again will torture myself with containment.
In one's heart, one can always laugh and joke
and think at the same time: Genes are free!