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The Future of BioethicsInternational Dialogues$
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Akira Akabayashi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199682676

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199682676.001.0001

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Before the Dawn of Ethics in Synthetic Biology

(p.350) 9.3 Commentary
The Future of Bioethics

Osamu Kanamori

Oxford University Press

In this commentary, the author argues that artificially and intentionally provoked disasters are hardly justified. As such, the design and realization of synthetic organisms must naturally incorporate deliberate consideration and regulation. This is especially true because the organism as a whole moves and grows in an uncontrollable manner when released in a given environment. At the same time, we must consider the manner in which human beings actively and constructively attempt to improve their lives when presented with insufficient conditions of nature, by ameliorating other organisms through processes such as the domestication of wild animals. In this larger context, proper characteristics of synthetic biology become less clear, and we must revisit our tendency towards modification of organisms in general. Regardless, given its rather inchoative nature, it is certainly premature to talk of “an ethics of synthetic biology.”

Keywords:   Artificially-provoked disaster, the biology of modification, the similarity with social problems of biotechnology, the prematureness of an ethics of synthetic biology

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