Skip to main content

Ethics in Science: An Inquiry into Bioethical Issues


Science and ethics can no more be viewed dialectically, which has been deliberated by many scientists and philosophers who have contributed to the socio-scientific understanding of various scientific inventions and researches. The emergence of a new branch of study, ‘Bioethics’ that deals with the ethical questions that arise at the interface of Biosciences, medicine,  various Biotechnological applications, politics and law is an evidence for the growing interrelationship between the twin disciplines for the welfare and well-being of the society and environment. The present chapter delves into some such Bioethical issues, such as animal experimentation, amniocentesis, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), genetic engineering, etc. The basic idea is to explore these issues from an ethical perspective to reveal the unspoken or hidden equation between Science and Ethics, and also to determine how decision-making in Science and scientific research could be disastrous if not done in an ethical manner.


This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD   84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD   109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD   109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Learn about institutional subscriptions


  1. 1.

    Refer to An Anti-vivisectionist Reply to pro-vivisectionists most common arguments, with a focus on Anti-vivisectionists Unmasked (Produced by Seriously Ill for Medical Research—SIMR).

  2. 2.

    See ‘The thalidomide story explained’, Down To Earth, April 16–30, 2010.

  3. 3.

    PETA or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, founded by Ingrid E. Newkirk in January 2000, is an organization that works towards educating the policymakers and the general public about abuse of animals in different spheres and aiming towards an understanding and promotion of animal rights and respecting them.

  4. 4.

    IVF or in vitro fertilization is a technique wherein the fertilization takes place outside the uterus, i.e. in vitro where the development of the embryo takes place for some time after which it is transferred into the uterus.

  5. 5.

    ZIFT or Zygote Intra-Fallopian Tube Transfer is a technique wherein the zygote is directly transferred into the fallopian tubes of the uterus of the mother.

  6. 6.

    GIFT or Gamete Intra-Fallopian Tube Transfer involves the transfer of freshly recovered ova and conditioned spermatozoa into the fallopian tubes (p. 2265, Encyclopaedia of Bioethics).

  7. 7.

    ICSI or Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection is a technique wherein the spermatozoon is mechanically inserted into the oocyte (p. 2265, Encyclopaedia of Bioethics).

  8. 8.

    Refer to The Hindu Newspaper article, “The Business of Baby-Making” dated 28 September 2014.

  9. 9.

    Science News Daily, 4 November 2006.

  10. 10.

    Popular Science by Rebecca Boyle posted 6 July 12 retrieved from on 5 April 2013.

  11. 11.


  12. 12.

    Sex ratio, patriarchy and ethics retrieved from on 5 April 2013.

  13. 13.

    Sperm sorting is a medical technique for sorting out sperms carrying X or Y chromosome and then the selected sperm is fused with the ovum giving rise to an embryo of desired sex.

  14. 14.

    The Other Half—Where have all the girls gone? By Kalpana Sharma published in The Hindu, dated: 16 April 2011, retrieved from on 5 April 13.

  15. 15.

    As per the Global Hunger Index 2018 report India ranks 103rd out of 119 countries that participated. (

  16. 16.

    Refer to Khosla, P. K. (2002), “Eco-friendly Bt. cotton and GMCs saviour of Indian farmers” in Agriculture Tribune, Monday, 20 May 2002, Chandigarh, India.

  17. 17.

    Refer to Das, N. M. (2006, 2 January). Food Security through Genetic Engineering. The Hindu. Retrieved from

  18. 18.

    From “The use of genetically modified crops in developing countries—a follow-up Discussion Paper”, Nuffield Council on Bioethics, © 2003 downloaded from on 14 June 2014.

  19. 19.

    From “The use of genetically modified crops in developing countries- a follow-up Discussion Paper”, Nuffield Council on Bioethics, © 2003.

  20. 20.

    Refer to Purkayastha, P. and Rath, S. (2010, May 15). Bt Brinjal: Need to Refocus the Debate. Economic and Political Weekly XLV (20), 42–48.

  21. 21.

    Anuradha, R. V. (2002). GMOs—Promises and Concerns. Frontline, Volume 19, Issue 08, April 13–26, 2002.

  22. 22.

    Refer to “India says No to Bt-Brinjal”, retrieved from

  23. 23.

    Rejection of indigenous methods of production, and following the suite of developed nations by adopting advanced agri-based technology, whether they comply with Indian climatology and topography or not. See Vaisavi, A. R. (2004). Suicides and the Making of India’s Agrarian Distress. National Institute of Advanced Studies, IISc Campus, Bangalore, India.

  24. 24.

    For more information visit

  25. 25.

    Chapter-2 on ‘Biotechnology Promises and Expectations’ downloaded from on 23 May 2013.

  26. 26.

    Lazaris, A., Arcidiacono, S., Huang, Y. et al. (2002) Spider silk fibers spun from soluble recombinant silk produced in mammalian cells Science 295: 472–6.

  27. 27.

    Refer to

  28. 28.

    For more information visit

  29. 29.

    Stem cells are the precursor cells which have the capacity to give rise to any specialized cell type of the body as well as the ability of self-renewal.

  30. 30.

    Taken from on 9 April 2013.

  31. 31.

    Refer to

  32. 32.

    Taken from

  33. 33.

    For further information visit

  34. 34.

    Refer to Stem-cell Therapy: the ethical issues, a discussion paper, © Nuffield Council of Bioethics 2000 or download from web:

  35. 35.

    Refer to

  36. 36.

    Marquis, D. (2008). Why abortion is immoral. In Contemporary issues in bioethics, 7th edition, ed. T. L. Beauchamp, L. Walters, J. P. Kahn, and A. C. Mastroianni. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.

  37. 37.

    Retrieved from on 28 May 2013.

  38. 38.

    Stanford Encyclopaedia of Bioethics.

  39. 39.

    “Ethical Issues in Human Gene Therapy” Taken from

  40. 40.

    Hunt, S. Y. (2008). Controversies in treatment approaches: Gene therapy, IVF, Stem cells and Pharmacogenomics. Retrieved from

  41. 41.

    Ethical Aspects of Gene Therapy by Alex Mauron retrieved from


  • Akbarsha, M. A., Zeeshan, M., & Meenakumari, K. J. (2010). Alternatives to animals in education, research and risk assessment: An overview with special reference to Indian context. In Altex Proceedings 2, 1/13, Proceedings of Animal Alternatives in Teaching, Toxicity Testing and Medicine. Retrieved from

  • Bartholet, E. (1992). In-vitro fertilization: The construction of infertility and of parenting. In H. B. Holmes (Ed.), Issues in reproductive technology I: An anthology (pp. 253–260). New York: Garland.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bernal, J. D. (1954). Science in history. London: Penguin Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chalmers, A. F. (1999). What is this thing called Science? (3rd ed., pp. 19–26). Buckingham: Open University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chan, K. M. A., Pringle, R. M., & Ranganathan, J. (2007). When agendas collide: Human welfare and biological conservation. Conservation Biology, 21(1), 59–68.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, N. G. (1994). The human genomic project: Deciphering the blueprint of heredity. Mill Valley, CA: University Science Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fletcher, J. C. (1983). Moral problems and ethical issues in prospective human gene therapy. Virginia Law Review, 69(3), 515–546.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gannett, L. (2010). The human genome project. In The stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved from

  • Giridharan, N. V., Kumar, V., & Muthuswamy, V. (2000). Use of animals in scientific research (pp. 1–25). New Delhi.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hill, C. M. (2002). Primate conservation and local communities: Ethical issues and debates. American Anthropologist, 104(4), 1184–1194.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • ICMR (2004). Regulatory regimen for genetically modified foods: The way ahead. New Delhi.

    Google Scholar 

  • Josefson, D. (2002). Scientists manage to manufacture Polio Virus. British Medical Journal, 325, 122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Knight, A. (2009). Perceptions, knowledge and ethical concerns with GM foods and the GM process. Journal of Public Understanding of Science, 18, 177–188.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions (2nd ed.). USA: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • LaFollette, H., & Shanks, N. (1996). Brute science: Dilemmas of animal experimentation. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Macklin, R. (1994). Surrogates and other mothers: The debates over assisted reproduction. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mastroianni, Jr., L. (2003). Reproductive technologies. In Encyclopedia of bioethics. Macmillan Reference USA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mepham, B. (2008). Bioethics: An introduction for the biosciences (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Muralidhar, K. (2019). Introduction. In K. Muralidhar, A. Ghosh, & A. K. Singhvi (Eds.), Ethics in science education, research & governance (pp. 1–18). New Delhi: Indian National Science Academy (INSA).

    Google Scholar 

  • Naess, A. (1995). The Apron diagram. In A. Drengson & Y. Inoue (Eds.), The deep ecology movement: An introductory anthology. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Naess, A. (2005). Deep ecology and politics. In H. Glasser & A. Drengson (Eds.), The selected works of Arne Naess (pp. 189–226). The Netherlands: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nelkin, D. (2002). Patenting genes and the public interest. American Journal of Bioethics, 2(3), 13–15.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parascandola, M. (1998). Animal research. In Encyclopedia of applied ethics. Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pascalev, A. (2003). You are what you eat: Genetically modified foods, integrity and society. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 16, 583–594.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Regan, T. (2014). Animal rights and vivisection. In A. I. Cohen & C. H. Wellman (Eds.), Contemporary debates in applied ethics (2nd ed., pp. 95–108). UK: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rowland, R. (1992). Living laboratories: Women and reproductive technologies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scully, J. L., Haimes, E., Mitzkat, A., Porz, R., & Rehmann-Sutter, C. (2012). Donating embryos to stem cell research: The “Problem” of gratitude. Bioethical Inquiry, 9, 19–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shiva, V. (1996). Biopiracy: The plunder of nature and knowledge. Boston: South End Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Slattery, P., & Rapp, D. (2003). Ethics and the foundations of education: Teaching convictions in a postmodern world. Boston: Pearson Education Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tumpey, T., Basler, C., Aguilar, P., Zeng, H., Solorzano, A., Swayne, D., et al. (2005). Characterisation of the reconstructed 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic Virus. Science, 310, 77–80.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Astha Saxena .

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2019 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Saxena, A. (2019). Ethics in Science: An Inquiry into Bioethical Issues. In: Ethics in Science. Springer, Singapore.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Singapore

  • Print ISBN: 978-981-32-9008-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-981-32-9009-9

  • eBook Packages: EducationEducation (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics