Implications of synthetic biology research and development: a structured ethical analysis

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    Abstract

    An Ethical Matrix approach is employed to systematically analyze the moral status of research and development in synthetic biology (synbio). In this structured method, the relevant parties whose interests command ethical respect are coordinated with the relevant ethical factors corresponding to a triplet of ethical principles, namely well-being, autonomy, and fairness, for reaching an ethical judgment based on pluralistic considerations. The Ethical Matrix analysis indicates that while synbio has the potential to lead to harm through accidents or deliberate abuse, this emergent area of biotechnology provides great promise for the advancement of humanity, with the benefits heavily outweighing the downsides. It is concluded that it would be objectionable on ethical grounds to thwart or postpone the foreseen benefits of synbio through a reflexively precautionary stance, and society ought to positively support synbio research and development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNew frontiers and applications of synthetic biology
    EditorsVijai Singh
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherAcademic Press/Elsevier
    Chapter27
    Pages437-449
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Electronic)9780323859868
    ISBN (Print)9780128244692
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2022

    Keywords

    • Autonomy
    • Fairness
    • Nonmaleficence
    • Principlism
    • Synthetic biology
    • Well-being

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