Biosafety and Bioethics


- To contextualize the ethical dimension of the  life sciences and their applications;

- To promote an informed debate on the increasing importance of the life sciences and biotechnology  in society;

- To debate to what extent science is neutral and the issue of the social responsibility of scientists;

- To develop  the ability  of students to contextualize and to debate scientific and ethical problems.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Palmira de Jesus Fontes da Costa


Weekly - 4

Total - Available soon

Teaching language



Available soon


Textbook of the course:

Ben Mephan, Bioethics: An Introduction to the Biosciences, Oxford University Press, 2008.

Works with articles for the presentation of the students:

John D. Anas, Elizabeth Fenton, Rebecca Kukla (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Bioethics, Routledge, 2015.

Bonnie Steinbock (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics, OUP, 2007.

A few section readings:

Jeffrey R. Ryan, Jan F. Glarum, Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, Containing and Preventing Biological Treats, Elsevier, 2008.

Complementaary works:

Humberto Rosa, Bioética para as Ciências Naturais, FLAD/NSF International Bioethics Institute, 2002.

Peter Singer, Ética Prática, Gradiva, 2000.

Palmira Fontes da Costa (ed.), Ciência, Ética e Cidadania: Reflexões de Cientistas Nobel, Lisboa, Ed. Autor, 2015.

Teaching method

Theoretical calsses; PowerPoint presentations; debate of case studies; role playing; documentaries; presentation  and disucssion of a film and of a documentary  related to the discipline; semminars.

Evaluation method

Theoretical classes:

Two written essays on Biosafety and Bioethics (50%)

Pratical Classes:

Oral presentation of an article, in grup (40%)

Case study in Biosafety or bioethics, in group (10%)

To be approved, it is necessary to attend two thirds of pratical classes.

Subject matter

1. Biosafety: and OGMs, in laboratories, Bioterrorism; and Bioacking, and Synthetic Biology, and Global Health.

2. The nature and scope of ethics and bioethics;

3. The emerge of Bioethics. Historical context;

4. The priorities of Bioethics according to Hans Jonas and Van Rensselaer Potter;

5. The Bioethics of Peter Singer;

6. ; Ethics and human experimentation;

7. Neuroethics;

8. Scientific conduct in research and publication of results;

9. Ethical issues in the beginning and end of life;

10. Ethical issues raised by Genetics and Biotechnology: Patents; Access to genetic information, Cloning and research with steam cells, gene teraphy, organ transplantation, new gene editing techniques, Human enhancement.

11. Ethics and global warming.


Programs where the course is taught: