Featured image of post A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 5

A Brief Guide to Biomedical Ethics - Part 5

A brief review of the basic concepts of Biomedical Ethics. The following concepts will be discussed in this part:


(from the Greek genesis - origin) Thi is the science of the laws of heredity and variability of organisms; on methods of controlling heredity and hereditary variability to obtain the desired human forms of organisms, or to control their individual development.

Human genetics

This is a branch of genetics closely related to anthropology and medicine. It is divided into anthropogenetics, which studies heredity and variability of normal human characteristics, and medical genetics, which studies hereditary pathology (diseases, defects, deformities, etc.).

Genetic engineering

This is an applied branch of genetics, which develops various kinds of biotechnology, creates genetically altered organisms and modified products, implements gene therapy of certain human diseases, germ cells and somatic cells, obtains identical genetic copies of the organism, etc. While noting the scientific and economic prospects of genetic engineering, it is also necessary to keep in mind its potential threat to humans and humanity. New biological knowledge, carrying with it many possibilities of genetic control over the individual, can lead to social and occupational discrimination, with dire consequences. If everything that genetic engineering is able to do with microorganisms and individual cells is in principle possible to do with humans, then the following things become real: targeted alteration of hereditary material; identical reproduction of genetically programmed individuals (cloning); creation of chimeras (human-animal) from hereditary material of different species.

Genetically modified products (GMP)

There are new, genetically engineered products (food, drugs, cosmetics, etc.), the remote effects of which on humans are not yet known. A possible danger is that once they are in our environment they will be fundamentally different from those harmful substances which threaten mankind and nature and whose effects have been studied and can be limited. The new ones will be much more dangerous. Bioethics therefore demands that we take particularly seriously the power of genetics to synthesize and integrate previously unknown genes into existing organisms.


(460-377 BC) He was a great ancient Greek physician, reformer of ancient medicine, founder of the principle of the individual approach to the patient. He developed a system of treatment based on the principles:

  1. to benefit and not to harm;
  2. to treat the contrary with the opposite;
  3. to help nature, to correlate his actions with its efforts to get rid of the disease;
  4. to observe care, to spare the patient’s strength; not to change medicines all of a sudden, to apply more active means when less active ones do not work. He revealed the main types of temperament (sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic) and their predisposition to certain diseases. Hippocrates was associated with the idea of high moral character of doctor and his ethics - the Hippocratic Oath.


(from Latin humanus - humane) This is a worldview based on the principles of equality, justice, and humanity in relations between people, imbued with love for people, respect for human dignity, and concern for the good of people.

Humanistic paradigm

In bioethics is characterized by a radical turn from empirical description of medical morals to a keen ethical-philosophical reflection on moral grounds of biomedical research, which led to the expansion of the problem area of bioethics by including moral, philosophical and legal components. etc.), social (equal opportunities, getting all kinds of medical services, etc.), ecological (awareness of the self-value of nature, its uniqueness, co-evolution), personal (security, self-respect, etc.). Can be realized with the simultaneous observance of moral principles and legal norms.


This is a new branch of human sciences (G.L. Tulchinsky), based on the modern humanistic paradigm, providing the solution of controversy between the anthropocentrism of the “old” worldview, which held a human being to be the exclusive center of the universe, and the new “nonanthropocentric” approach, which cares for Life and the Living in all its manifestations. Biomedical ethics, by resolving this contradiction, makes both of these paradigms complementary - “co-existing” and mutually complementary. It is not humanity per se within the framework of traditional humanism and anthropo-egoism, but the free will to choose authentic values that opens up a new post-humanity, a humanity of a higher level, revealing the ability of the individual not only to be egocentric, but also to care for the life and rights of the Living Pre-human, Non-human and Sub-human. Thus there is a proliferation, an expansion of the human and humanity beyond its biological species.

Demographic regulation

This is an ethical problem. Demography is the science of population and the laws of its development, in particular its reproduction due to natural processes of fertility and mortality. The problem of Demographic regulation. emerged in the second half of the twentieth century in connection with the “demographic explosion” - the rapid growth of population in underdeveloped countries. There are several Demographic regulation models, which include different ethical estimations from the point of view of human rights:

  1. restriction of fertility by the state-legal way;
  2. medical-biological control of fertility (up to sterilization);
  3. religious-humanistic propaganda of human and embryo rights;
  4. free choice of reproduction by each person. Abortion and contraception remain one of the most common means of individual birth control, and they pose their own bioethical problems.


(from the Greek deon - proper, proper and logos - teaching) This the doctrine of the duty, duties and standards of conduct for medical personnel, which ensure the optimal quality and efficiency of their work for restoration and preservation of people’s health. Assumes the duty of the doctor to the society and patients, the right of physicians to professional dignity and honor, includes normative principles of behavior, determining the nature of the relationship between the doctor and the patient. It fits into the structure of medical ethics and is embodied in deontological codes.

Last updated on Dec 14, 2021 20:57 UTC
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