2021 Introduction to Bioethics

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Life Science and Technology
Tokunaga Makio  Suzuki Mutsuaki   
Course component(s)
Lecture    (ZOOM)
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 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
- Utilization: problems related to human genome information, genetic and cell engineering, genetic resources (microorganisms, plants and animals), and benefit sharing.
- Restriction and conservation: issues concerning allowable range of genetic modification, maintenance of biological diversity.
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 issues of bioethics including life ethics, security and utilization.
2) Acquire ability for appropriate handling and settlement of bioethics problems.


human genome information, biosecurity, genetic resource, biological diversity

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, and 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 "Utilization and conservation of genetic resources and biological diversity" Genetic resources constitute an important part of the biological diversity. Utilization of genetic resources brings great benefits. It causes a major issue of biodiversity crisis and unfair sharing of benefits among resource area and utilization area. We will cover issues concerning genetic resources and debate several examples. Students will gain an understanding of the problems with genetic resources and biological diversity, acquiring the skills to think about appropriate measures to take.


There is no assigned textbook.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Handouts will be provided in class.

Assessment criteria and methods

The achievement is evaluated based on reports on the bioethical problems discussed in each class including consideration from the viewpoint of the scientific or engineering career path (100%).

Related courses

  • -

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

There are no prerequisites for taking the course.

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