chapter  7
19 Pages

Regulatory Frontiers

Integrating Social and Ethical Concerns Into Regulatory Decision-Making for Emerging Technologies
WithGary Marchant, Ann Meyer, Megan Scanlon

Many emerging technologies—including advances in genetic medicine, animal and plant biotechnology, nanotechnology, stem cells, robotics, synthetic biology, and neuroscience—raise important ethical and social issues. These issues are intensively debated in a variety of contexts by stakeholders, scholars, and the researchers themselves during the research stage of technology development. Discussion appears in academic research projects and publications; regional, national and international conferences; professional associations; Congressional debates and reports; and governmental advisory bodies such as the President’s Council on Bioethics, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society, or the HHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections. With a few relatively narrow exceptions for requirements such as human subjects protection, 1 however, the 98impact of these debates on the direction and performance of research is primarily hortatory and voluntary, with few mandatory legal requirements or restrictions relating to ethical and social concerns imposed at the research stage.