The ethical acceptability of the use of synthetic biology is a highly contested issue. In a recent article (Bioethics 27; 453-463, 2013), this topic is explored from a utilitarian bioethical perspective, concluding that although the potential benefits of synthetic biology are quite substantial, it is impossible to predict what they actually are as this field is still quite experimental and has only been in use for a very short time. Moreover, there are also negative side-effects such as certain iatrogenic effects and the risk of fomenting bioterrorism. Although it is difficult to quantify these risks, the author of the article warns that we must proceed with caution when evaluating the ethics of synthetic biology.
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