Articles on Bioethics

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Who owns your thoughts? And other important questions raised by technology. Hands and brain via

Is it time for a presidential technoethics commission?

New and imagined digital technologies have important ethical implications. We should devise relevant social norms through a high-profile, public, collaborative process.
A snip here, but not a snip there? DNA image via

Why treat gene editing differently in two types of human cells?

The International Summit on Human Gene Editing drew a distinction between editing an individual's body cells and editing germline cells that would pass changes to future generations. Does that make sense?
Future people would be grateful if their disease is cured, rather than being replaced by a different healthier or non-disabled person. sabianmaggy/Flickr

Five reasons we should embrace gene-editing research on human embryos

Experts from around the world are in the US to discuss the scientific, ethical and governance issues linked to human gene editing. Here are five reasons they shouldn't ban research in the field.
Results of Nazi hypothermia experiments were cited in papers from the 1950s-1980s. Rich Engelbrecht/Flickr

Is it ethical to use data from Nazi medical experiments?

On Human Experiments - The Nazi experiments during World War II were among the most egregious instances of unethical human research. But does that mean we can't use the data they generated?
Families share genes but that doesn’t mean no individual in a family should be accorded privacy about their genetic tests. magw21/Flickr

Should doctors share gene tests after a death in the family?

When a family member dies from a disease caused by a genetic mutation, doctors have to decide whether to share the deceased person's test results with the rest of the family.
A Liberian nurse disinfects a looted mattress taken from an elementary school that was used as an Ebola isolation unit in West Point, Monrovia, Liberia. AHMED JALLANZO/EPA

Epidemic ethics: four lessons from the current Ebola outbreak

The extent of the current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has belatedly focused the attention of non-governmental organisations, local and Western governments, and international media. What we haven’t…
Three person IVF will prevent mitochondrial disease. Sukharevskyy Dmytro/Shutterstock

The ethics of three-person IVF

The UK parliament will soon consider making Britain the first country to allow three-person IVF. The regulations are yet to be approved, but the government is currently backing moves to allow the creation…
Lawfully allowing a patient to die should be kept distinct from euthanasia. Shutterstock

Withdrawing life-prolonging treatment not the same as killing

There is a clear legal distinction in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States between withdrawing life-prolonging treatment – such as ventilation for a person who can’t breathe unaided, or…

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