2016 Introduction to Bioethics (ACLS)

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Academic unit or major
Life Science
Tokunaga Makio  Yamamura Masayuki  Kajiwara Susumu  Harada Takashi  Saito Tomoya    Maasui Toru 
Course component(s)
Day/Period(Room No.)
Intensive ()  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
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Course description and aims

With the utilization of assisted reproduction technologies, genetic diagnoses, gene therapy, life support, ES cells, and iPS cells, modern Life Science and Technology is developing at a dizzying rate. In the course of that, numerous problems such as the following have come to the fore.
- Bioethics: problems related to human dignity and human rights
- Safety: problems related to human genome information, genetic recombination technology, human ES cell research, epidemiological studies, etc.
- Dual use: problems related to converting research findings to use for biological weapons
After the instructor presents examples and explanations for these problems, students will have a discussion with the instructor, deepening their thought process and learning new responses.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will able to:
1) Get a basic knowledge about problems of bioethics including life ethics and security.
2) Acquire ability for appropriate handling and settlement of bioethics problems.


human genome information, biosecurity, dual use

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

This is an intensive course.
Because this is an intensive course, 2.5 periods will be given for each class.
In each class, two 1.5 hour lectures with a pause will be held, and after the second one a 45 minute debate will be held.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 "Properties of Human Genome Information (1)" Building on the properties of genome information, we will cover the properties of genome information and the current usage environment, examining and debating several examples. Understand the essential features and contemporary usage of the human genome information.
Class 2 "Properties of Human Genome Information (2)" We will cover problems that may occur when using genome information, and examine and debate several examples. Explain the current situation of the problems of the usage of the human genome information.
Class 3 "Research on the concerns about the landscape and dual use of biosecurity" Taking as an example the series of discussions that began with the injunction against publishing research papers on the H5N1 influenza virus that struck in 2012 for the problem of "dual use" among the various problems with "biosecurity", we will think about this problem together while tracing its history to the present. Students will gain an understanding of the problems with biosecurity and dual use, acquiring the skills to think about appropriate measures to take.


There is no assigned textbook.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

In each class, the lecturer hands out materials.

Assessment criteria and methods

Reports submitted each class (100%)

Related courses

  • Nothing

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

There are no prerequisites for taking the course.

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