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Articles on Bioethics

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A limited supply of donor organs, paired with a massive demand for transplants, has fuelled the global organ trafficking industry, which exploits poor, underprivileged and persecuted members of society as a source of organs to be purchased by wealthy transplant tourists. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Killing prisoners for transplants: Forced organ harvesting in China

China’s industrial-scale organ trafficking practice has been executing prisoners of conscience and using their organs for transplantation for decades. This is known as forced organ harvesting.
DNA is a trove of personal information that can be hard to keep track of and protect. Boris Zhitkov/Moment via Getty Images

Genetic paparazzi are right around the corner, and courts aren’t ready to confront the legal quagmire of DNA theft

Both Macron and Madonna have expressed concerns about genetic privacy. As DNA collection and sequencing becomes increasingly commonplace, what may seem paranoid may instead be prescient.
Cancer-causing viruses like HPV can cause cells to divide indefinitely and, in the case of Henrietta Lacks, become immortal. Tom Deerinck/NIH via Flickr

What are HeLa cells? A cancer biologist explains

The immortal cancer cells of Henrietta Lacks revolutionized the fields of science, medicine and bioethics. And they still survive today, more than 70 years after her death.
Research suggests that about 20% of all prescriptions are administered “off-label.” Hafakot/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Off-label’ use is common in medicine – a bioethicist and legal philosopher explain why the COVID-19 vaccines are different

The CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine provider agreement prohibits health care professionals from administering the vaccines in people for whom they are not yet authorized or approved. But this departs from longstanding norms.
People wait in line to receive a vaccine shot against COVID-19 in Belgrade, Serbia, Aug. 17, 2021. Serbia and other countries have started administering booster doses. Meanwhile, more than half the world’s population has not had a first dose. AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

Are COVID-19 boosters ethical, with half the world waiting for a first shot? A bioethicist weighs in

Scientists debate the medical benefits of booster shots. But there’s another aspect to consider: bioethics.

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