Bioethics and the New Embryology: Springboards for Debate

Scott F. Gilbert, University of Helsinki and Swarthmore College, Anna Tyler, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and...
Scott F. Gilbert, University of Helsinki and Swarthmore College, Anna Tyler, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and Emily Zackin, Hunter College
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Bioethics and the New Embryology: Springboards for Debate

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Description

A book designed for freshman seminars, adult education courses, and ethics units in biology classes

Our ability to alter the course of human development ranks among the most significant changes in modern science and has brought embryology into the public domain. We can now plan the sex of our children in advance. We can test for the presence or absence of certain genes and can choose to abort those embryos that fail to meet...

A book designed for freshman seminars, adult education courses, and ethics units in biology classes

Our ability to alter the course of human development ranks among the most significant changes in modern science and has brought embryology into the public domain. We can now plan the sex of our children in advance. We can test for the presence or absence of certain genes and can choose to abort those embryos that fail to meet certain specifications for “normalcy.” We can already cure diseases and enhance the abilities of mice by inserting genes into their embryos, and there is no reason to think that such enhancement might not be possible in humans. We can obtain and clone human stem cells that are capable of becoming nearly any tissue in the body. The question that must be asked is: Even if we can do such things, should we do such things? Under what conditions should certain procedures be permitted or forbidden? Do we want to support the research that might make such procedures possible?

In order to make informed judgments about such issues, one has to consider both the science and the ethical considerations. The goal of this book is to present enough science so that readers can make an informed analysis of the issues and know what factual data are consistent (or are not consistent) with their ethical views. These chapters are not meant to provide definitive answers but rather, as the book's title states, to be springboards for discussion.

The presentation of topics follows the sequence used in most developmental biology courses. The two-chapter units address specific questions, juxtaposing the scientific “facts” (in the initial chapter) with the ethical questions (in the second chapter). While the science has been simplified and explained at the level of an introductory biology course, it successfully conveys the essential information for useful discussions. The final unit contains information and discussion about three topics—the definition of “normal,” the question of genetic determinism, and the use of animals in scientific research—that predate the “embryological revolution” but remain important issues for scientists and concerned citizens alike to consider.

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Scott F. Gilbert, the Finland Distinguished Professor at the University of Helsinki Institute of Biotechnology and a Senior Research Associate at Swarthmore College, teaches developmental biology, developmental genetics, and the history of biology. After receiving his B.A. from Wesleyan University, he pursued his graduate and postdoctoral research at The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Gilbert is the recipient of several awards, including the first Viktor Hamburger Award for excellence in developmental biology education, the 2004 Alexander Kowalevsky Prize for evolutionary developmental biology, honorary degrees from the Universities of Helsinki and Tartu, and the Medal of François I from the Collège de France. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Society of Naturalists, and has been chair of the Professional Development and Education Committee of the Society for Developmental Biology. His research pursues the developmental genetic mechanisms by which the turtle forms its shell.

Anna L. Tyler is a Research Fellow in the Department of Neurology at Dartmouth College's Geisel School of Medicine.

Emily Zackin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at CUNY–Hunter College

“With its broad-ranging coverage of embryo-related biotechnologies, Gilbert's book makes an excellent text for high-school and university biology students and for bioethics courses. It also superbly meets the need for an accessible, accurate resource for the biotechnological knowledge needed for informed policymaking. … the book is an important contribution to informed dialogue among citizens from a wide range of educational levels, professions, and generations … .”
—James Bradley, Nature

“Advances in developmental biology, whether basic or applied, undoubtedly raise significant ethical and societal issues. A new book, by developmental biologist Scott F. Gilbert and his students, Anna Tyler and Emily Zackin, introduces many of these ethical issues, and these issues are presented against the backdrop of sound, though simplified, science. As such, Bioethics and the New Embryology: Springboards for Debate is most welcome, and should inform and indeed transform ethical and political discussions of developmental biology.”
— Jason Scott Robert, BioEssays

“This excellent new textbook, which is topical, easy to read, and beautifully produced, fills a void.”
—Josephine Johnston, The Quarterly Review of Biology

"At long last, here is a biology text that raises challenging questions of ethical legal and social implications in a serious and meaningful way . . . [placing] all of its content in the social and historical context necessary for the understanding both of the science and of its place in the larger scheme of things. I know of no other book that does the job better. . . . But the most amazing feature is the price. Finally, here is a book that students will not resent buying, and can affordably be added as a supplemental textbook to any course."
biowww.net
(Read the entire review at http://biowww.net/biobooks_2_embryology.html)

“The bioethics literature could thus use a book that genuinely integrates biological and ethical concerns—rubbing (budding) philosophers' noses in the realm of facticity while forcing (budding) biologists to confront questions of normativity. Bioethics and the New Embryology … is not quite the integrative book I've just described, but it comes very close, and does an admirable job as far as it goes.”
—Irfan Khawaja, Teaching Philosophy

For the Instructor (Available to Qualified Adopters)

Instructor’s Resource Library

The IRL includes all figures and tables from the textbook, provided as both high- and low-resolution JPEGs. All have been formatted and optimized for excellent projection quality. Also included are ready-to-use PowerPointslides of all figures and tables.

If you have adopted this text for course use (within the U.S. or Canada) and are interested in the instructor’s supplements that accompany the text, please contact publish@sinauer.com. Outside the U.S. or Canada? Check the orders and returns page for the distributor in your region.

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Developmental Biology Bioethics and the New Embryology: Springboards for Debate $158.35
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The Cell: A Molecular Approach and Bioethics and the New Embryology: Springboards for Debate for $137.66 (Suggested List Price: $161.95)