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CHB1020 - Ethics, Genetics and the Law: Justice and the new Biotechnologies

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Linda Barclay


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


This unit investigates ethical, legal and policy issues raised by new developments in genetics and biotechnology. It begins by examining individual rights concerning genetic information, and considers liberal, libertarian, and communitarian approaches to political morality. Questions of justice in access to genetic enhancement technologies, and the ethics of eugenics, are then discussed, along with the testing of and access to pharmaceuticals in developing countries, and pharmacogenomics. The unit concludes by considering justice issues raised by the notion of individuals contributing to their own ill-health. Legislation and law reform documents are used as policy illustrations throughout.


On successfully completing this unit, students will have: familiarity with the major political moralities used in discussions of current legal and policy issues in genetics and biotechnology; skills enabling them to think critically about key ethical and policy issues raised by developments in biotechnology and genetics; the ability to make informed judgments about those ethical and policy issues.


Exercise 500 words: 15%, Exercise 500 words:15%, Essay 1500 words: 30%, Exam 2000 words: 40%.

Contact hours

2 one-hour lectures and 1 one-hour tutorial per week