With the aid of genome editing methods it is possible to modify or remove gene sequences in a targeted manner, as well as to precisely incorporate new material into the genome. Through the application of the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (or CRISPR) method, which was only introduced a few years ago, it is now possible to carry out such modifications relatively efficiently and with a high degree of precision on bacteria, plants, animals and human beings. This new method of genetic molecule editing is already being widely applied in research and is giving rise to considerable expectations. Initial practical applications for plants already exist, and these have drawn attention to certain issues relating to regulation. In the field of medicine, efforts aimed at developing somatic gene therapy or xenotransplantation, which in the past had encountered difficulties or were found to be impractical, are now entering the realms of possibility. Furthermore, the debate on intervention in the human germline has been reopened.