Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Open Agriculture

Covered by: Elsevier - SCOPUS
Clarivate Analytics - Emerging Sources Citation Index

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Bioethics for Biotechnologists: From Dolly to CRISPR

D. Caballero-Hernandez
  • Corresponding author
  • Laboratorio de Inmunología y Virología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL), Nuevo León, Mexico
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ C. Rodríguez-Padilla
  • Laboratorio de Inmunología y Virología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL), Nuevo León, Mexico
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ S. Lozano-Muñiz
Published Online: 2017-04-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opag-2017-0016


Bioethics, as a discipline, has developed mainly, but not exclusively, around themes of moral importance for the medical practice, such as abortion and euthanasia, a never ending discussion that has been shaped by social mores and influenced by scientific and technological advance. However, in the past 20 years an important shift has been taking place, one where bioethical issues and their discussion are starting to being driven by the so-called emerging biotechnologies, from cloning to genome sequencing and editing. If Bioethics is concerned with human beings, and their interaction with other living beings and the environment, it makes sense for Biotechnology, by definition the use of living systems or organisms to develop products, to become an important, if not the most important, source of bioethical conflicts in modern era and for future society. As Biotechnology keeps expanding and becomes entangled in everyday life, so does the need for ethical competent biotechnologists, with competencies built not only on ethical principles but also on a realistic grasp of the impact these technologies could have on human society and the world we inhabit.

Keywords: Biotechnology; genome editing; animal cloning; ethics; fairness; biothreats; biosafety; biosecurity


  • Au R., From genetic engineering to genome engineering: what impact has it made on science and society. Adv. Biol. Biotechnol. Genet., 2015, 2, 1-8Google Scholar

  • Callaway E., Dolly at 20: The inside story on the world’s most famous sheep. Nature, 2016, 29, 534(7609), 604Google Scholar

  • Callaway E., ‘Gene drive’ moratorium shot down at UN biodiversity meeting. Nature News, 2016bCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Efferth T., Banerjee M., Paul N.W., Abdelfatah S., Arend J., Elhassan G., et al.,Biopiracy of natural products and good bioprospecting practice. Phytomedicine, 2016, 23(2), 166-73Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Gaj T., Gersbach C.A., Barbas C.F., ZFN, TALEN, and CRISPR/ Cas-based methods for genome engineering. Trends Biotechnol., 2013, 31(7), 397-405CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Gantz V.M., Jasinskiene N., Tatarenkova O., Fazekas A., Macias V.M., Bier E., et al., Highly efficient Cas9-mediated gene drive for population modification of the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles stephensi. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2015, 112(49), E6736-43Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Giassetti M.I., Maria F.S., Assumpção M.E.O.D.Á., Visintin J.A., Genetic Engineering and Cloning: Focus on Animal Biotechnology. In: Sithole-Niang I., editor. Genetic Engineering, Intech Open, 2013, p. 63-99Google Scholar

  • King N.B., The ethics of biodefense. Bioethics, 2005, 19(4), 432-46CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Kumar S., Biosafety and biosecurity issues in biotechnology research. Biosafety, 2015, 4, e153Google Scholar

  • Lawrence D.J., The four principles of biomedical ethics: a foundation for current bioethical debate. J. Chiropr. Humanit., 2007, 14, 34-40Google Scholar

  • Ledford H., Biohackers gear up for genome editing. Nature, 2015,524, (7566), 398-9Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Mackey T.K., Liang B.A., Integrating biodiversity management and Indigenous biopiracy protection to promote environmental justice and global health. Am. J. Public Health, 2012, 102(6), 1091-5CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Mariscal C., Petropanagos A., CRISPR as a driving force: the Model T of biotechnology. Monash Bioeth. Rev., 2016, 1-6Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Martensen R., The history of bioethics: an essay review. J. Hist. Med. Allied Sci., 2001, 56(2), 168-75Google Scholar

  • Maxmen A., Three technologies that changed genetics. Nature, 2015, 528, S2Google Scholar

  • NCo B., Emerging Biotechnologies: Technology, Choice and the Public Good. London: Nuffield Council on Bioethics, 2012Google Scholar

  • O’Mathúna D.P. 2007. Bioethics and biotechnology. Cytotechnology, 2007, 53(1-3), 113-9Google Scholar

  • Pellegrino E.D., The origins and evolution of bioethics: some personal reflections. Kennedy Inst. Ethics J., 1999, 9(1), 73-88Google Scholar

  • Rasmussen A.J., Ebbesen M., Why should nanoscience students be taught to be ethically competent? Sci. Eng. Ethics, 2014, 20(4), 1065-77CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Sinclair K.D., Corr S.A., Gutierrez C.G., Fisher P.A., Lee J.H., Rathbone A.J., et al., Healthy ageing of cloned sheep. Nat. Commun., 2016, 26, 7Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Sinkins S.P., Gould F., Gene drive systems for insect disease vectors. Nat. Rev. Genet., 2006, 7(6), 427-35CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • The Sixth Day. Dir. Roger Spottiswoode. Columbia Pictures, 2000Google Scholar

  • Venter J.C., Adams M.D., Myers E.W., Li P.W., Mural R.J., Sutton G.G., et al., The sequence of the human genome. Science, 2001, 291(5507), 1304-51Google Scholar

  • Verma A.S., Agrahari S., Rastogi S., Singh A., Biotechnology in the realm of history. J. Pharm. Bioallied Sci., 2011, 3(3), 321 Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2017-01-05

Accepted: 2017-02-22

Published Online: 2017-04-12

Published in Print: 2017-02-01

Citation Information: Open Agriculture, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 160–165, ISSN (Online) 2391-9531, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opag-2017-0016.

Export Citation

© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in