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CHB1010 - Ethics, biotechnology and genetics: Current issues in bioethics

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader(s): Robert Sparrow


Clayton First semester 2009 (Day)


This unit investigates emerging ethical issues raised by current and future developments in biotechnology and genetics. The main competing ethical frameworks are explained, initially through a discussion of abortion and research ethics, to help students analyse and resolve various contemporary ethical issues in biotechnology and genetics. The unit examines ethical issues in the following areas, outlining the latest research in each case: human embryonic stem cell research; the creation of cross-species hybrids; xenotransplantation; genetic engineering and 'enhancement' of human traits; therapeutic and reproductive cloning; and preimplantation and prenatal genetic diagnosis and selection.


On successfully completing this unit, students will have: a familiarity with major ethical frameworks used in discussions of current issues in bioethics; skills that enable them to think critically about some key ethical issues raised by current and future developments in biotechnology and genetics; and the ability to make informed judgements about those ethical issues.


Written work: 60%
2 hour exam: 35%
Tutorial performance: 5%

Contact hours

2 one-hour lectures and a one-hour tutorial per week

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at:

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