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in philosophy, a branch of ethicsethics,
in philosophy, the study and evaluation of human conduct in the light of moral principles. Moral principles may be viewed either as the standard of conduct that individuals have constructed for themselves or as the body of obligations and duties that a particular society
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 concerned with issues surrounding health care and the biological sciences. These issues include the morality of abortionabortion,
expulsion of the products of conception before the embryo or fetus is viable. Any interruption of human pregnancy prior to the 28th week is known as abortion. The term spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, is used to signify delivery of a nonviable embryo or fetus due
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, euthanasiaeuthanasia
, either painlessly putting to death or failing to prevent death from natural causes in cases of terminal illness or irreversible coma. The term comes from the Greek expression for "good death.
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, in vitro fertilizationin vitro fertilization
(IVF), technique for conception of a human embryo outside the mother's body. Several ova, or eggs, are removed from the mother's body and placed in special laboratory culture dishes (Petri dishes); sperm from the father are then added, or in many cases a
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, and organ transplants (see transplantation, medicaltransplantation, medical,
surgical procedure by which a tissue or organ is removed and replaced by a corresponding part, usually from another part of the body or from another individual.
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). In the 1970s bioethics emerged as a discipline with its own experts, often professional philosophers, who developed university courses on the subject. Many hospitals now employ experts on bioethics to advise on such issues as how to treat terminally ill patients and to allocate limited resources. Advances in health care, the development of genetic testinggenetic testing,
medical screening for genetic disorders, by examining either a person's DNA directly or a person's biochemistry or chromosomes for indirect evidence. Testing may be done to identify a genetic disorder a person has, whether the disorder is already evident or not,
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 and screening, and the new research in genetic engineeringgenetic engineering,
the use of various methods to manipulate the DNA (genetic material) of cells to change hereditary traits or produce biological products. The techniques include the use of hybridomas (hybrids of rapidly multiplying cancer cells and of cells that make a
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, including gene therapygene therapy,
the use of genes and the techniques of genetic engineering in the treatment of a genetic disorder or chronic disease. There are many techniques of gene therapy, all of them still in experimental stages.
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, have also given rise to questions in bioethics.


See W. T. Reich, ed., Encyclopedia of Bioethics (4 vol., 1978); H. T. Engelhardt, The Foundations of Bioethics (1986); R. Macklin, Mortal Choices: Bioethics in Today's World (1987).


A discipline concerned with the application of ethics to biological problems, especially in the field of medicine.
References in periodicals archive ?
But on the opposing side, bioethicists and sports commentators say the culture is toxic and spreads to children.
Perhaps it isn't a dearth of bioethicists but the policies and ideas that the mainstream movement promotes that cause the perceived loss of public trust.
As feminist bioethicist Rosemarie Tong of the University of North Carolina notes, feminist ethicists "ask questions about male domination and female subordination before they ask questions about good and evil, care and justice, mothers and children.
Alta Charo, a legal scholar and bioethicist at the University of Wisconsin, and former member of President Bill Clinton's Bioethics Advisory Committee.
Law and custom both prohibit the sale of cadaveric tissue, a ban heartily supported by bioethicists like Arthur Caplan, the influential director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics.
Studies of childless couples show that this is a profoundly driving force for most parents,'' said Harold Vanderpool, a bioethicist at the University of Texas.
Battin is a bioethicist at the University of Utah and author of The Least Worst Death and The Death Debate.
A bioethicist or ethics consultant is not absolutely necessary, but some committee members need knowledge and experience in dealing with ethical issues.
Paul Billings is a bioethicist, immunologist, geneticist and renowned authority in internal medicine and clinical genetics, as well as the biology and health impact of stem cells, which he first began experimenting with more than 25 years ago.
President Bush's Bioethics Council, headed by Leon Kass, PhD, a bioethicist at the University of Chicago who has adamantly opposed human cloning of any kind, not only failed to end the debate, but may have added fuel to the fire.
Singer, a philosopher and so-called bioethicist, supports "speciesism," a phrase he coined that places human beings and animals on the same level of value.
Others, like Caplan, the bioethicist, would like to see a more deliberate national policy.