Read the New article “Synthetic Biology: Old and New Dilemmas—The Case of Artificial Life”, published in BioTech journal as part of the Special Issue Biotechnology and Bioethics. This is a contribution of our General Director, Fragiskos Kolisis, from the National Technical University of Athens.
This article aims to examine some of the ethical questions emerging from the use of already existing biotechnological tools and the issues which might occur by synthetic biology’s potential future possibilities. In the first part, the essence of synthetic biology and its relation to the contemporary biotechnological research is analyzed. In the second part, the article examines whether the new biotechnological inventions pose new or revive old moral questions about the ethics of science, engineering, and technology in general. After briefly addressing some of the various issues which are raised by experts, philosophers, but also the general public, concerning synthetic biology in general, it focuses on the topic of “artificial life creation” and presents moral reasons which may or may not allow it. The topic is approached by referring to consequentialist, deontological, but also, virtue theory arguments for and against it and the possibility of a partial permission of “artificial life” experiments, asking whether the benefits outweigh the risks and moral implications is explored. Finally, it proposes an argument in favor of the future exploration of biological innovation, underlying the need for a more balanced access to its beneficial results.
Access the article below