La ética de la

Una nueva y ominosa palabra nueva se ha introducido sigilosamente a las ciencias biológicas y la investigación biomédica: "la bioseguridad". El término refleja un creciente reconocimiento de que los avances rápidos en estas áreas ofrecen un potencial de grandes beneficios, pero que ese conocimiento, herramientas y técnicas que permiten los avances científicos también pueden emplearse mal a fin de causar daño deliberado.

Cualquier esfuerzo para tratar este dilema del "doble uso" debe de ser a final de cuentas internacional ya que la investigación biotecnológica es genuinamente una empresa global. La comunidad científica internacional tiene un papel clave que desempeñar para asegurar que los esfuerzos de control de los riesgos mejoren la seguridad y refuercen la colaboración internacional para garantizar un uso no dañino de los avances científicos.

Recientemente, el profesor Ronald Atlas de la Universidad de Louisville y yo presentamos en la revista Science una propuesta de Código de ética para las ciencias biológicas. Nuestra propuesta de que se necesita un código y sus contenidos se han topado con puntos de vista extremadamente opuestos. La comunidad científica reconoce cada vez más que la ciencia no es en sí misma una actividad libre de valores y, por tanto, la elección de qué investigación llevar a cabo y cómo realizarla debe estar gobernada por principios éticos. Pero todavía hay un núcleo de científicos que se oponen al concepto, argumentando que no debe haber restricciones en la búsqueda de conocimientos nuevos, y que los principios éticos son sólo relevantes cuando se aplica ese conocimiento.

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