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Bioethics: Ethical Issues of Biotechnology

BY: Amna Adnan | Category: Issues | Submitted: 2010-11-11 07:13:56
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Article Summary: "What is Bioethics? Biotechnology is a very vast field and its techniques are used in various other fields like Agriculture, Medicine and Molecular Biology, it also has some ethical issues..."

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Ethics: -

The teaching of morality, according to which the main virtue is the ability to find middle ground between two extremes. Aristotle founded this science.

Bioethics -

A part of ethics that studies moral side of human activities in medicine and biology.
In a narrow sense, bioethics stands range of ethical issues in medicine. In a broad sense, bioethics is the study of social, environmental, health and socio-legal problems concerning not only rights but also of any living organisms that are included in the ecosystem. That is, it has a philosophical orientation, evaluate results, and develop new technologies and ideas in medicine, biotechnology and biology in general.

Modern biotechnology techniques are so powerful and not fully explored the potential that their widespread use is possible only with strict adherence to ethical standards. Exist in society the moral principles require compromise between the interests of society and the individual. Moreover, the interests of the individual are placed above the current public interest. Therefore, compliance and further development of ethical standards in this area should be directed primarily to the full protection of human interests.

Mass introduction into medical practice, and commercialization of innovative technologies in the field of genetic engineering and cloning, has also led to the need to create an appropriate legal framework governing all aspects of legal work in these directions.

Let us dwell on those areas in biotechnological research, which are directly linked with high risk violations of individual rights and cause the most critical debate about their widespread use: transplantation of organs and cells for therapeutic purposes and cloning.

Recent years have witnessed increased interest in the study and application in biomedicine, human embryonic stem cell and cloning technology to their production. It is known that embryonic stem cells can transform into different cell types and tissues (hematopoietic, sex, muscle, nerve, etc.). They appeared to be promising for applications in gene therapy, transplantation, hematology, veterinary medicine, Pharmacologic when testing drugs, etc.

Isolation of these cells produced from human embryos and fetuses of 5-8 weeks, obtained during medical termination of pregnancy (abortion), giving rise to numerous questions about the ethical and legal legitimacy of research on human embryos, including these:

- As far as necessary and justified by scientific research on human embryonic stem cells?

- Is it permissible for the advancement of medicine to destroy human life and how it is moral?

- Enough worked out the legal basis for the application of these technologies?

All these issues were dealt with, it would be much easier if there was a universal understanding of what the "beginning of life, at what point we can speak of" individual in need of protection of human rights "and that should be protected: sexual human cells, the embryo from the moment of fertilization, the fetus with some particular phase of fetal development or the person from the moment of his birth? Each option has its supporters and detractors, and the status of gametes and embryos has not found its final decision, yet no country in the world.

Scientists are trying to clearly distinguish between "reproductive" cloning, which aims - creating a clone, i.e. a living organism that is identical to another organism of the genotype, and "therapeutic" cloning, used to grow colonies of stem cells.

In the case of stem-cell issue, status of the embryo and cloning acquire a new dimension. It is connected with the motivation of this kind of research, namely the use of their search for new, more effective treatments for serious and even terminal illnesses. Therefore, in some countries (such as USA, Canada, England), where until recently it was considered unacceptable to use embryos and cloning technology for therapeutic purposes, a change in the position of state and society in the direction of the admissibility of their application for the treatment of diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's heart attack, failure of regeneration of bone or cartilage, with craniofacial injuries, diabetes, etc.

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