Timeline of bioethics
This is a timeline of bioethics, attempting to describe significant events in the development of the field.
- 1 Sample questions
- 2 Big picture
- 3 Visual data
- 4 Full timeline
- 5 Meta information on the timeline
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
- 8 References
The following are some interesting questions that can be answered by reading this timeline:
- Literature (journal)
- Literature (book)
|Time period||Development summary|
|<1960s||Discussions of moral issues in medicine already happen in ancient times, with early contributions by Hippocrates and Plato. In the 20th century, German theologian Fritz Jahr publishes three articles in 1927, 1928, and 1934 using the German term “Bio-Ethik”, forcefully arguing an ethical approach to issues concerning human beings and the environment.|
|1960s||Bioethics as a distinct field of academic study is born in the United States, merging from a cluster of scientific and cultural developments in the country during that decade.|
|1970s||Many bioethics programs and degrees are established at universities in the United States in order to provide students – most notably medical, law, and public policy students – with some expertise in medical ethics to deal with complex cases. Feminist bioethics develops from the early 1970s on and is initially focused on medical ethics; proponents later extend the areas of interest to issues in the fields of animal and environmental ethics.|
|1980s||"Universities establish human subjects review committees." In the late 1980s, the Russian school of bioethics originates.|
|1990s||In the last decade of the 20th century, the contributions of social scientists to bioethical research become particularly important. Work of this type involves surveys of public attitudes to advances in the life sciences, including xenotransplantation and genetic modification.|
|2000s||Ethics consultation begins to emerge as another, more enduring model of ethics and science interaction. The concept of research ethics consultation develops.|
The image below shows Google Trends data for "bioethics" search term from January 1, 2004 to July 13, 2020, when the screenshot was taken. A declining interest is appreciated.
|380 BC||Field development||The Republic of Plato advocates selective human breeding in anticipation of later programs of eugenics.|
|1259 – 1265||Literature||Italian philosopher Thomas Aquinas writes his Summa contra Gentiles, which briefly discusses the permissibility of abortion.||Italy|
|1620||Literature||English philosopher Francis Bacon publishes his Novum Organon, in which he argues that scientific research should benefit humanity.||United Kingdom|
|1796||"Edward Jenner inoculates eight-year-old James Phipps with fluid from a cowpox pustule to immunize him against smallpox."|
|1830||"Charles Babbage writes the book Reflections on the Decline of Science in England. This was one of books to catalog scientific misdeeds. Originated such terms as data trimming, data fudging, data falsification, and data cooking."|
|1859||Literature||English naturalist Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species, which proposes a theory of evolution of living things by natural selection. The book would generate much controversy because it proposes that human beings were not created by God (as most religions claimed) but descended from apes.||United Kingdom|
|1885||"Louis Pasteur administers an experimental rabies vaccine to nine-year-old Joseph Meister without testing it on animals first."||France|
|1926||Literature||German theologian Fritz Jahr, referring to European and Oriental traditions, publishes an article entitled Natural sciences and teaching ethics where he gives the subtitle “Old Knowledge in new clothes” describing the function of natural sciences for education and teaching biological research ethics.||Germany|
|1927||Concept development||Fritz Jahr publishes article using the German term “Bio-Ethik” (which translates as “Bio-Ethics”) and argues, both for the establishment of a new academic discipline, and for the practice of a new, more civilized, ethical approach to issues concerning human beings and the environment. Jahr would publish similar articles discussing bioethics in 1928, and 1934.||Germany|
|1931||Policy (reproductive rights)||Mexico becomes the first country in the world to legalize abortion in cases of rape.||Mexico|
|1932||Literature (journal)||Peer-reviewed academic journal The Linacre Quarterly is established.||United States|
|1932||The Tuskegee syphilis experiment is conducted.||United States|
|1947||American ecologist Aldo Leopold publishes The Land Ethic, a chapter in A Sand County Almanac. Leopold argues that there is a critical need for a "new ethic," an "ethic dealing with human's relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it".||United States|
|1948–1953||Publication||American biologist Alfred Kinsey publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Five years later, he publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. These books, known as the Kinsey Reports would become very controversial, because they examine topics which were regarded as taboo at the time, such as masturbation, orgasm, intercourse, promiscuity, and sexual fantasies.||United States|
|1956–1980||Research team led by Saul Krugman and Joan Giles conducts hepatitis experiments on mentally disabled children at The Willowbrook State School. The subjects are intentionally infected with the disease and researchers ovserve its natural progression. The experiments are approved by the New York Department of Health.||United States|
|1961||"The Milgram Experiment was conducted to test how far a subject would go to earn approval of an authority figure. The experiment was thought to violate many ethical standards due to extenuating emotional conflict and stress."|
|1967||Journal of Value Inquiry|
|1967||Science, Technology, & Human Values|
|1969||Organization||The Hastings Center is founded as a bioethics research institute. It is located in Garrison, New York.||United States|
|1970||Literature||Paul Ramsey publishes The Patient as Person: Explorations in Medical Ethics.|
|1970||Organization||The Institute of Society, Ethics and the Life Sciences (later Hastings Center) is founded. A freestanding bioethics center, it is the first institution devoted to the study of bioethical questions.||United States|
|1970||Literature||American biochemist Van Rensselaer Potter publishes his article Bioethics, the Science of Survival, which suggests viewing bioethics as a global movement in order to foster concern for the environment and ethics.|
|1971||Literature||Van Rensselaer Potter publishes book Bioethics: Bridge to the Future.||United States|
|1971||Hastings Center Report|
|1971||Concept development||Georgetown University researcher Andre Hellegers uses the term bioethics to refer to interdisciplinary research moral problems of biomedicine, primarily associated with the need to protect the dignity and rights of patients.||United States|
|1971||Organization||The Joseph and Rose Kennedy Center for the Study of Human Reproduction and Bioethics (now known as Kennedy Center) opens at Georgetown University. With similar goals to those of The Hastings Center, the Kennedy Institute is however placed inside the traditional academy. Founded by Andre Hellegers, it is the first in the world to establish an institute of bioethics on the basis of interdisciplinary research and approaches.||United States|
|1972||Organization||National Catholic Bioethics Center.||United States|
|1973||Concept development||Dan Callahan writes essay Bioethics as a Discipline, whose title is the first entry of the word "bioethics" in the catalogue of the National Library of Congress. In the article, Callahan argues for the establishment of a new academic discipline.||United States|
|1973||"After conducting hearings on unethical research involving human subjects, including the Tuskegee study, Congress passes the National Research Act in 1973, which President Nixon signs in 1974. The Act authorizes federal agencies (e.g. the NIH and FDA) to develop human research regulations. The regulations require institutions to form Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) to review and oversee research with human subjects."||United States|
|1975||Field development||Peter Singer claims that human beings must consider the equal interests of human beings and animals alike.|
|1975||Field development||At a gathering at the Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, scientists discuss the benefits and risks of recombinant DNA research; the NIH forms the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee." "Scientists gather at Asilomar, California to discuss the benefits and risks of recombinant DNA experiments and agree upon a temporary moratorium for this research until they can develop biosafety standards. The NIH forms the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee to provide guidance for researchers and institutions. Research institutions form Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs) to review and oversee research involving hazardous biological materials." ||United States|
|1978||Literature||The Encyclopedia of Bioethics launches its first edition, becoming the first reference book to focus exclusively on the field of bioethics.|
|1980||Policy||In the Diamond v. Chakrabarty case the United States Supreme Court rules that a genetically modified bacterium can be patented because it is the product of human ingenuity. This sets a precedent for patents on other life forms and helps to establish solid intellectual property protection for the new biotechnology industry.||United States|
|1980||Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics|
|1982||William Broad and Nicholas Wade publish Betrayers of the Truth, which attempts to reveal much of the scientific misconduct that happens at this time.|
|1986||Literature||Peer-reviewed academic journal Biology and Philosophy is launched.|
|1987||Literature||Ren-zong Qiu's Bioethics is published as the first bioethics book in China.||China|
|1987||Literature||Peer-reviewed academic journal Bioethics is launched.|
|1988||Literature||Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics is established.|
|1988||Scientific development||Harvard University and Dow Chemical Company patent a genetically engineered mouse used to study cancer.||United States|
|1988||Literature||Van Rensselaer Potter publishes Global bioethics.|
|1989||Literature||The United States National Academy of Sciences publishes On Being A Scientist, a free, short book on research ethics for scientists in training.||United States|
|1989||Literature||The U.S. National Academies Press publishes On Being A Scientist, a free, short book on research ethics for scientists in training.||United States|
|1990||Legal Trends in Bioethics.|
|1990||Program launch||The Human Genome Project is launched by the United States as a US$20 billion effort to map and sequence the human genome.||United States|
|1991||Organization||London-based Nuffield Council on Bioethics is established by the Nuffield Foundation to adress numerous bioethical issues in need of analysis.||United Kingdom|
|1991||Literature||The Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal is launched.||United States|
|1992||"NAS publishes Responsible Science: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process. The book estimates the incidence of misconduct, discusses some of the causes of misconduct, proposes a definition of misconduct, and recommends some strategies for preventing misconduct."|
|1992||Literature||Quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics is launched.|
|1992||Literature||The United States National Academy of Sciences publishes Responsible Science: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process. The book estimates the incidence of misconduct, discusses some of the causes of misconduct, proposes a definition of misconduct, and recommends some strategies for preventing misconduct.||United States|
|1992||Literature||Peer-reviewed academic journal Environmental Values is established.||United Kingdom|
|1992||The United States Office of Research Integrity is formed.||United States|
|1993||Scientific development||Researchers successfully clone human embryos.|
|1993||Organization||The International Bioethics Committee is established by UNESCO to provide guidance on ethical and legal issues raised by research in medicine, biological sciences and associated technologies, and to reinforce knowledge in ethics.|
|1994||American psychologist Richard Herrnstein and American political scientist Charles Murray publish The Bell Curve, a controversial book that reignites the centuries old debate about biology, race and intelligence"||United States|
|1994||Montreal surgeon Roger Poisson admits to fabricating and falsifying patient data in NIH-funded breast cancer clinical trials in order allow his patients to qualify for enrollment and have access to experimental treatments.||Canada|
|1995||About 200 religious leaders join in Washington, DC., with leading biotechnology critic Jeremy Rifkin in a press conference named the "Joint Appeal against Human and Animal Patenting", protesting the patenting of plants, animals, and human body parts.||United States|
|1995||Organization||The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics is established.||United States|
|1995||Organization||The University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics is established.||Canada|
|1995||Concept development||American philosopher Daniel Callahan defines bioethics as a science “which is the product of biomedical achievements related to the environment and social sciences”.||United States|
|1995||The Tokyo subway sarin attack is perpetrated. This would further increase concern among scientists and defense analysts about the use of chemical or biological weapons.||Japan|
|1995||Science and Engineering Ethics|
|1996||Scientific development||Dolly is born as the first mammal ever to be cloned from another individual’s body cell. Her birth is announced in 1997, followed by several European nations banning human cloning. The United States Congress considers a bill to ban all human cloning but changes its mind after scientists argue that the bill would undermine biomedical research.||United Kingdom|
|1996||Organization||The National Bioethics Advisory Commission is established.|
|1996||Literature (book)||American philosopher David Abram publishes The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. Abram coins the phrase "the more-than-human world" as a way of referring to earthly nature.|
|1996||Literature (book)||American philosopher H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr. publishes The Foundation of Bioethics, in which he states “Moral diversity is real. It is real in fact and in principle. Bioethics and healthcare policy have yet to take this diversity seriously. Those who teach bioethics, those who engage in bioethics committees, even those who produced textbooks tend to discount the diversity of understanding regarding the morality of particular health care choices (e.g., regarding abortion, commercial surrogacy, euthanasia/ germline genetic engineering, inequalities in access to health care, infanticide, organ sales) or the nature of morality (e.g., theological, deontological, virtue-based)".||United States|
|1997||Organization||The Committee On Publication Ethics is established in the United Kingdom, consisting in academic journal editors and others who are concerned about the integrity of what is peer-reviewed and published in journals.||United Kingdom|
|1998||As scientists perfect methods for growing human embryonic stem cells, some countries ban the research, while others promote it.|
|1998||Scientific development||Methods for growing human embryonic stem cells are perfected. Some countries ban the research; others promote it.|
|1998||Scientific development||American biotechnologist Craig Venter forms Celera Genomics and begins a private effort to sequence the human genome, using dozens of automated sequencing machines.|
|1998||Ethical Theory and Moral Practice|
|1999||Literature (journal)||AMA Journal of Ethics is launched.||United States|
|1999||Literature||The American Journal of Bioethics is launched.||United Sattes|
|1999||Literature||Chinese bioethicist Lee Shui-chuen publishes Confucian Bioethics (in Chinese).||China|
|2001||Literature||Peer-reviewed journal The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly is launched.||United States|
|2001||Policy||Several journals start requiring authors to describe their responsibilities when publishing research.|
|2001||Organization||The International Society for Stem Cell Research is established to promote the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells.|
|2001||Organization||The President's Council on Bioethics is created by United States President George W. Bush to advice the President on bioethical issues that may emerge as a consequence of advances in biomedical science and technology.||United States|
|2001||Organization||The Center for Genetics and Society is established.||United States|
|2002||The President's Council on Bioethics recommends that the United States ban reproductive cloning and enact a moratorium on research cloning.||United States|
|2002||Researchers publish several papers in prominent journals with direct implications for bioterrorism, some described methods include one for genetically engineering a form of mousepox virus that is much deadlier than the naturally occurring strain. Another shows how to make the poliovirus by obtaining supplies from a mail-order company. Another study develops a mathematical model for showing how many people would be killed by infecting the United States milk supply with botulinum toxin.|
|2002||Organization||The Toi Te Taiao: The Bioethics Council is established.||New Zealand|
|2003||The American Society for Microbiology, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies held a meeting to discuss the censorship biological research that poses security risks. Self-censorship of some research is also agreed by journals.|
|2003||The United States invades Iraq with the stated purpose of eliminating its chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs. So far, evidence of weapons programs but no actual weapons would be found.||Iraq|
|2003||The International Bioethics Committee issues a second global instrument, the International Declaration on Human Genetic Data, which may be regarded as an extension of the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights.|
|2004||Literature||The Journal of Bioethical Inquiry is released by the University of Otago Bioethics Centre.||New Zealand|
|2005||The Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights is adopted by UNESCO.|
|2005||The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity is established by the United States Department of Health and Human Services "to provide advice and guidance to federal agencies, scientists, and journals concerning oversight and public of research in biotechnology or biomedicine which can be readily applied to cause significant harm to public health, agriculture, the economy, or national security".||United States|
|2005||Literature||American professor George Annas publishes American bioethics: crossing human rights and health law boundaries.||United States|
|2006||Literature||Quarterly peer-reviewed scientific journal BioSocieties is released.|
|2008||Literature||The International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics is launched to encourage more work in feminist bioethics.|
|2009||Organization||Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues is established by United States President Barack Obama to advise the president and the administration on bioethical issues arising from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology.||United States|
|2009||Organization||The Bangladesh Bioethics Society is established.||Bangladesh|
|2010||Literature (book)||George Annas publishes Worst case bioethics: death, disaster, and public health.||United States|
|2011||Literature||Triannual academic journal Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics is first issued.|
|2012||Organization||The Center for the Study of Bioethics is founded by Serbian American philosopher Vojin Rakić with the purpose to stimulate scientific debate on a variety of issues bioethics deals with. It is based in Belgrade, Serbia.|
|2012||Literature||The Canadian Journal of Bioethics is established.||Canada|
|2013||The Supreme Court of the United States rules that isolated and purified DNA cannot be patented and that only DNA that has been modified by human beings can be patented.||United States|
|2014||Various funding agencies and journals, including the National Institutes of Health, Science, and Nature, take steps to promote reproducibility in science in response to reports that many published studies in the biomedical, behavioral, and physical sciences are not reproducible.|
|2014||New Mexico Second District Judge Nan Nash rules that terminally ill patients have the right to aid in dying under the state constitution, i.e., making it legal for a doctor to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a terminally ill patient.||United States|
|2015||Literature||American bioethicist Alice Dreger publishes Galileo's Middle Finger, which discusses the ethics of medical research.||United States|
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