In recent years, research in early developmental biology, organoid technology, and genome editing technology have developed rapidly, and are expected to uncover novel scientific knowledge and possibilities for medical applications. At the same time, however, there have been vigorous debates over, whether it is morally acceptable to, for example, culture human embryos in vitro beyond 14 days after fertilization, to create and utilize human embryo-like structures for research, to create human brain organoids that might acquire human-like consciousness or cognition, and to use genome editing for reproduction. There is an urgent need for governments and societies to draw a line between ethically acceptable and unacceptable practices in these avenues of scientific research.
The Bioethics and Philosophy Group (Fujita Group), belonging to a world-class institute of natural sciences, is promoting international and interdisciplinary collaborations on the intersection of science and bioethics/philosophy. Specifically, we are conducting meta-analysis of various ethical debates, analytical philosophical reflections on these topics, and empirical research (questionnaire survey) to identify and clarify key ethical issues in each topic. Our overall objective is to provide ethical frameworks for research and clinical applications.