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Our ability to alter the course of human development ranks among the most significant changes in modern science. We can choose the sex of our children in advance, and could potentially prevent disease with genetic enhancement. An ethical question then arises as to whether or not these things should be done. The goal of this book is to present enough science so that readers can both make an informed analysis of these issues. The chapters are not meant to provide definitive answers but, rather, to be springboards for discussion. The presentation of topics follows the same sequence used in most developmental biology courses. While the science has been simplified and explained at the level of an introductory biology course, it successfully conveys the essential information for useful discussions.
Unit I. When Does Life Begin?
- An Outline of Human Development
- Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Arguments
Unit II. Should We Regulate Assisted Reproductive Technology?
- Natural and Assisted Fertilization
- Ethical Issues in Assisted Reproductive Technology
Unit III. Should We Select the Sex of Our Children?
- The Genetics of Sex Determination
- Arguments For and Against Sex Selection
Unit IV. Should We Allow Human Beings To Be Cloned?
- The Science of Cloning
- Ethics and Policies for Human Cloning
Unit V. Should We Use Stem Cells to Repair the Human Body?
- Stem Cell Therapy and Organ Regeneration
- Ethical Dilemmas of Stem Cell Therapy
Unit VI. Should We Modify the Human Genome?
- Gene Therapy
- Should We Allow the Genetic Engineering of Humans?
Unit VII. New Perspectives on Old Issues
- What Is "Normal""?
- Genetic Determinism
- The Ethics of Animal Use in Research
Scott F. Gilbert is the Howard A. Schneiderman Professor of Biology at Swarthmore College. He is the author of the textbook Developmental Biology, and he has edited "Embryology: Constructing the Organism", "A Conceptual History of Embryology", and several special issues of journals. Scott has his Ph.D. in biology, his M.A. in the history of science, and a B.A. in religion. He has been the recipient of the Kowalevsky Prize in evolutionary developmental biology, the medal of Francois I from the College de France, and the first Viktor Hamburger Award for education in developmental biology. He has published extensively on developmental genetics and on the history and ethical issues in embryology.
Anna Tyler was graduated with a B.A. from Swarthmore College and is presently working toward a doctorate in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Department of Dartmouth College.
Emily Zackin was graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in political science and English and a minor in biology. She earned an M.A. in political science from Columbia University, and is presently working toward a doctorate in Princeton University's Politics Department.
With its broad-ranging coverage of embryo-related biotechnologies, Gilbert's book makes an excellent text for high-school and university biology students and for bioethics courses. It also superbly meets the need for an accessible, accurate resource for the biotechnological knowledge needed for informed policymaking. [...] the book is an important contribution to informed dialogue among citizens from a wide range of educational levels, professions, and generations [...] .
- James Bradley, "Nature"
"Advances in developmental biology, whether basic or applied, undoubtedly raise significant ethical and societal issues. A new book, by developmental biologist Scott F. Gilbert and his students, Anna Tyler and Emily Zackin, introduces many of these ethical issues, and these issues are presented against the backdrop of sound, though simplified, science. As such, 'Bioethics and the New Embryology: Springboards for Debate' is most welcome, and should inform and indeed transform ethical and political discussions of developmental biology."
- Jason Scott Robert, "BioEssays"
"This excellent new textbook, which is topical, easy to read, and beautifully produced, fills a void."
- Josephine Johnston, "The Quarterly Review of Biology"
"At long last, here is a biology text that raises challenging questions of ethical legal and social implications in a serious and meaningful way . . . [placing] all of its content in the social and historical context necessary for the understanding both of the science and of its place in the larger scheme of things. I know of no other book that does the job better. . . . But the most amazing feature is the price. Finally, here is a book that students will not resent buying, and can affordably be added as a supplemental textbook to any course."
"The bioethics literature could thus use a book that genuinely integrates biological and ethical concerns-rubbing (budding) philosophers' noses in the realm of facticity while forcing (budding) biologists to confront questions of normativity. 'Bioethics and the New Embryology' [...] is not quite the integrative book I've just described, but it comes very close, and does an admirable job as far as it goes."
- Irfan Khawaja, Teaching Philosophy