ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ethics in Medical Research

Last month the US Congress decided to send to the Senate a bill banning all research on human cloning, further polarising the debate among scientists and ethicists. The flurry of exchanges, some of them surprisingly sharp, have thrown up issues which are perhaps the most significant in the realm of science, ethics and human welfare since the second world war and the horror of Nazi experiments on prisoners. If the latter triggered the first major debates on the interface between scientific progress and ethical and human values, this current debate worldwide on human cloning and stem cell research brings into focus the problems that are going to become increasingly complex over this century, no matter how this particular issue is decided. At the core of the debate is the troublesome question of the degree to which scientific endeavour, particularly as it relates to health and longevity of humankind, should be allowed to set its own pace without reference to the possible negative consequences during the process of development or even afterwards. The focus of concern is as much whether such pursuit is necessary at all as the process of research.

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