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Ethics in Science: An Inquiry into Bioethical Issues

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  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 http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-06/new-breakthrough-scientists-decipher-almost-entire-genome-unborn-baby on 5 April 2013.

  11. 11.

    Source: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=103437.

  12. 12.

    Sex ratio, patriarchy and ethics retrieved from http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/sex-ratio-patriarchy-and-ethics/article1819313.ece 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 http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/Kalpana_Sharma/the-other-half-where-have-all-the-girls-gone/article1701575.ece on 5 April 13.

  15. 15.

    As per the Global Hunger Index 2018 report India ranks 103rd out of 119 countries that participated. (https://www.globalhungerindex.org/results/).

  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 http://www.hindu.com/edu/2006/01/02/stories/2006010200410200.htm.

  18. 18.

    From “The use of genetically modified crops in developing countries—a follow-up Discussion Paper”, Nuffield Council on Bioethics, © 2003 downloaded from http://www.conacyt.gob.mx/cibiogem/images/cibiogem/comunicacion/publicaciones/Nuffield_Council-GMOs-for-dev-countries.pdf 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 http://www.bhoomimatha.com/india-says-no-to-bt-brinjal/.

  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 http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Reviews/0806_synthetic_biology.pdf.

  25. 25.

    Chapter-2 on ‘Biotechnology Promises and Expectations’ downloaded from http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/emerging-biotechnologies/emerging-biotechnologies-biotechnology-promises-and-expectations 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 http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Reviews/0806_synthetic_biology.pdf.

  28. 28.

    For more information visit http://www.jcvi.org/cms/research/projects/synthetic-bacterial-genome/press-release/.

  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 http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/sep/22/embryonic-stem-cell-trial-blindness?newsfeed=true on 9 April 2013.

  31. 31.

    Refer to http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/32123/title/Could-Stem-Cells-Cure-MS-/.

  32. 32.

    Taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/nov/06/stem-cells-brain-parkinsons-disease.

  33. 33.

    For further information visit http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/emerging-biotechnologies/emerging-biotechnologies-biotechnology-promises-and-expectations.

  34. 34.

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

  35. 35.

    Refer to http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/mar/01/stem-cells-breakthrough.

  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 http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/project/hgp.shtml on 28 May 2013.

  38. 38.

    Stanford Encyclopaedia of Bioethics.

  39. 39.

    “Ethical Issues in Human Gene Therapy” Taken from http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/publicat/hgn/v10n1/16walter.shtml.

  40. 40.

    Hunt, S. Y. (2008). Controversies in treatment approaches: Gene therapy, IVF, Stem cells and Pharmacogenomics. Retrieved from http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/controversies-in-treatment-approaches-gene-therapy-ivf-792.

  41. 41.

    Ethical Aspects of Gene Therapy by Alex Mauron retrieved from http://www.gfmer.ch/Endo/Lectures_09/ethical_aspects_of_gene_therapy.htm.

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Saxena, A. (2019). Ethics in Science: An Inquiry into Bioethical Issues. In: Ethics in Science. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-32-9009-9_2

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