"It's hard to predict what the ethical concerns will be in 10 years' time, as we can't imagine what science will be capable of; all we can say is that they won't be the ethical concerns that bother us now."
An article about the fact that the borders of the ethical discussion in science is moving and is pushed forward: "When the first heart transplant took place in the 1960s, there was widespread condemnation and revulsion," says Dr Peter Cotgreave, director of Save British Science. "Now it's accepted as a standard medical practice. Partly this is because we have come to see there have been no long-term harmful side-effects to the individual or society, but also because science has moved on."
1977 did Beauchamp put down ethical guidelines for biomedical science: Beauchamp suggested that all experiments should be evaluated according to four principles: non-maleficence, beneficence, autonomy and justice. Which, loosely translated, means they should not do harm, they should be in society's best interests, there should be freedom of choice and that equal cases should be treated equally and unequal ones unequally. The problem is that the interpretation of the guidelines varies and the need for a bigger transparency in the work of the scientists is needed, a need that collides with the development of big bucks in the biogenetic industry. "The traditional separation between scientists, who supposedly produce objective 'facts', and politicians, who deal in power, has obscured the means by which the goals of scientific and technological research are set even more than in other areas of public policy."
The scientists is often rather worried about that the genetic tests and production of GM-food already have gone to far. But the fact that the contracts often are short do that scientists are unwilling to rock the boat. And of course the fact that a scientist is driven by his or hers curiosity gets him to sometimes take the opportunity to do the test even if it's in the borders of ethics.
The end of the road today is this: "You want some matured eggs from an aborted foetus? There's an Israeli-Dutch team of scientists only too happy to consider it. You want a hybrid embryo? No problem, there's a private fertility clinic in the US that has created chimeras by merging male cells with female embryos. You want a perfect stem cell tissue match for your seriously ill child? Just stay Stateside for your IVF treatment. And remember to bring your chequebook.". (EducationGuardian.co.uk | Research | Pushing back the frontiers)