Does Synthetic Biology Need Synthesized Ethics?
New Report Calls for a Broad Ethics of Emerging Technologies
Commissioned by the Synthetic Biology Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Ethical Issues in Synthetic Biology: An Overview of the Debates analyzes how the ethical issues raised by a variety of emerging technologies are often similar and familiar. The authors find that these similarities are abundant enough to justify an effort to develop an ethical framework that cuts across emerging and converging technologies. “Rather than stovepiping ethical questions into the hyphenated areas of bio-ethics, nano-ethics, neuro-ethics and so on, it is time to begin developing an ethics of emerging technologies as a whole,” said
“Given the rate at which new technologies are emerging, a comprehensive ethical approach should be developed to more readily identify and address ethical challenges and foster a productive public dialogue about social implications,” said
The report explores the differences between physical and non-physical harms and pro-actionary and pre-cautionary frameworks, in an effort to better define the ethical issues around an emerging area such as synthetic biology.
To download the report and find more information about synthetic biology, see: www.synbioproject.org.
About Synthetic Biology
According to the U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering, synthetic biology aims to design and engineer biologically based parts, novel devices and systems as well as redesign existing, natural biological systems.
The Synthetic Biology Project is an initiative of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Project aims to foster informed public and policy discourse concerning the advancement of synthetic biology. For more information, visit: www.synbioproject.org
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (www.wilsoncenter.org) is the living, national memorial to President Wilson established by Congress in 1968 and headquartered in
The Hastings Center (www.thehastingscenter.org) is an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit bioethics research institute founded in 1969. The Center’s mission is to address fundamental ethical issues in the areas of health, medicine, and the environment as they affect individuals, communities, and societies.
SOURCE Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars