Saturday, 27 January 2007

Biology and ethics

I'm in the middle of revising for my final exam until the summer. Well I say in the middle, but realistically I have 2 more hours of work before my brain goes to sleep, and then the exam is at 9am tomorrow morning, yikes!
Well so I can get away with writing this post I'd better add how much I've enjoyed this module. It's one of the parts of science that I love. Real world applications of pretty cool science, and thinking about how it impacts on us all, and whether we want this innovation!
The module covers everything from transplants, assisted reproductive technologies, genetic testing, cloning and intellectual property rights on biological innovations. Now if you're not interested in science you may find it quite boring, but this is all stuff that affects our everyday life.
Do you think we should do IVF?
And what should happen to the embryos not needed after treatment?
Where should we stop with transplants?
Are face transplants right?
What about switching off heart lung machines on brain dead patients?
Should insurers have the right to ask for results of genetic test?
Or ask you to have a test if there is a genetic disease in the family?
Should we create human clones to allow research?
Will we ever allowing cloning for reproductive purposes?
Should we allow people to produce designer babies?
What about if that baby is being created to save the life of a sibling?
How do you copyright a genetically cloned mice?
Should we allow multinational companies to copyright a food produced in a different area for centuries?

I find it all fascinating, and has really got me thinking about how peoples lives have changed in the last 30 years, I can't imagine life without IVF babies, and organ transplants. However both were hugely controversial when the first started, it's going to be interesting to see how peoples attitudes change over the next 30 years.

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