The Ethics of Protocells: Moral and Social Implications of Creating Life in the Laboratory

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Experts explore the potential benefits, risks, and moral aspects of protocell technology, which creates simple forms of life from nonliving material.

Teams of scientists around the world are racing to create protocells--microscopic, self-organizing entities that spontaneously assemble from simple organic and inorganic materials. The creation of fully autonomous protocells--a technology that can, for all intents and purposes, be considered literally alive--is only a matter of time. This book examines the pressing social and ethical issues raised by the creation of life in the laboratory. Protocells might offer great medical and social benefits and vast new economic opportunities, but they also pose potential risks and threaten cultural and moral norms against tampering with nature and "playing God." The Ethics of Protocells offers a variety of perspectives on these concerns. After a brief survey of current protocell research (including the much-publicized "top-down" strategy of J. Craig Venter and Hamilton Smith, for which they have received multimillion dollar financing from the U.S. Department of Energy), the chapters treat risk, uncertainty, and precaution; lessons from recent history and related technologies; and ethics in a future society with protocells. The discussions range from new considerations of the precautionary principle and the role of professional ethicists to explorations of what can be learned from society's experience with other biotechnologies and the open-source software movement.

Contributors
Mark A. Bedau, Gaymon Bennett, Giovanni Boniolo, Carl Cranor, Bill Durodié, Mickey Gjerris, Brigitte Hantsche-Tangen, Christine Hauskeller, Andrew Hessel, Brian Johnson, George Khushf, Emily C. Parke, Alain Pottage, Paul Rabinow, Per Sandin, Joachim Schummer, Mark Triant, Laurie Zoloth

 

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Updated Science
Protocell Schmotocell
Pre Copernicus Life Science
A. "Life from scratch"
Relaunching biology from the beginning
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/60345/title/Life_from_scratch
B. "Genes' Expression Modification"
http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/200/122.page#3649
Life's is the ubiquitous cosmic evolution mode. The mode of a gene's response to the organism culture's feedback signal, i.e. "replicate without change" or "replicate with change" in case of proven augmented energy constrainment by the offspring, is the mode of Life's normal evolution, which is the mode of evolution universally, the mode of cosmic evolution.
Dov Henis
(Comments From The 22nd Century)
03.2010 Updated Life Manifest
http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/54.page#5065
Cosmic Evolution Simplified
http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/240/122.page#4427
"Gravity Is The Monotheism Of The Cosmos"
http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/260/122.page#4887
EOTOE.Embarrassingly obvious expanding horizons beyond Darwin And Einstein.
http://www.molecularfossils.com/2010/05/formal-test-of-theory-of-universal.html
 

Contenido

1 Introduction to the Ethics of Protocells
1
I Risk Uncertainty and Precaution with Protocells
17
II Lessons from Recent History and Related Technologies
123
III Ethics in a Future with Protocells
221
About the Authors
349
Index
353
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Acerca del autor (2009)

Mark A. Bedau is Professor Humanities at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He is the coeditor of Emergence: Contemporary Readings in Science and Philosophy and Protocells: Bridging Nonliving and Living Matter, both published by the MIT Press in 2008. Emily C. Parke is Business Manager at ProtoLife Srl.

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