Past Program

Oct 14 - Oct 21, 2001

Biotechnology: Legal, Ethical and Social Issues


Advances in biotechnology are proceeding at a breathtaking pace. The human genome has been sequenced; animals have been cloned; genes have been patented; crops are being modified genetically; therapeutic drugs are being developed using new genetic information. These biotechnological developments hold great promise for improvements in the areas of human health and agricultural production. At the same time, many of the ethical, legal, and social issues raised by these dramatic scientific developments remain largely unarticulated, under-examined, and unresolved.


This session will convene scientists, private industry representatives, legal professionals, legislators, policy-makers, ethicists, journalists, healthcare professionals, regulators, and leaders of non-governmental organizations for an in-depth examination of the ethical, legal, and social implications of biotechnology. Discussions will focus on: differing cultural, moral, ethical, philosophical, and religious responses to advances in biotechnology; the public understanding of and reaction to biotechnology and genetic research; the role of the media in communicating between the scientific community and the public; appropriate and safe uses of genetic information; the development of legal and regulatory frameworks at the national and international levels; and, the identification of ways in which the private sector, the scientific community, and the public sector can work together to assure the responsible advancement of biotechnology while protecting and fostering the public good.