Publications

June 24, 2009

Ethical Issues in Synthetic Biology

An Overview of the Debates

The ethical issues raised by a variety of emerging technologies are often similar and familiar. These similarities are often abundant enough to justify an effort to develop an ethical framework that cuts across emerging and converging technologies, according to a new report authored by Erik Parens, Josephine Johnston, and Jacob Moses of The Hastings Center.

In Ethical Issues in Synthetic Biology: An Overview of the Debates, the authors argue that rather than stovepiping ethical questions into the hyphenated areas of bio-ethics, nano-ethics, neuro-ethics and so on, it is time to begin speaking about the ethics of emerging technologies as a whole.

“By better understanding precisely what values are considered at play in the context of synthetic biology, we will be in a better position to understand what action would be reasonable to expect or recommend.”

Erik Parens, Josephine Johnston, and Jacob Moses, “Ethical Issues in Synthetic Biology: An Overview of the Debates,” Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, June 24, 2009.