The Newsletter 52 Winter 2009

Bioethics and life science in Asia

Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner

Asia is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to research in the life sciences. Asian countries play a major role both in shaping international research practices and in the formulation of bioethical research regulation in the field of biomedical research and research applications, including stem cell research, genetic testing and screening, reproductive technologies and the banking of biological materials. Not only wealthy welfare societies such as Japan and Singapore but also large developing countries such as China and India, are strong global competitors at the forefront of biomedical research and biotech applications. These new fields of research, on the one hand, promise to yield revolutionary technologies and biomedical knowledge that could enhance the health and welfare of large patient populations, including diabetes, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, bioethical concerns have come about due to the novel and global nature of research in the life sciences and the application of resultant technologies in some regions where even the most basic healthcare is a scarce good.

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