The need for learning bioethics and law for biology students

Hin Tat Aaron CHAN, Brian A. WHITTON, Gilbert Y. S. CHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Although the creation in 2018 of a pair of genome-edited HIV-resistant twins in China caused widespread condemnation, we question whether the law and ethics relevant to such cases are dealt with adequately in university programmes. Biology educators are entrusted with upholding the discipline’s standards, but are they doing enough to guide students towards ethical and law-abiding practices? As it seems likely that events such as the recent COVID-19 outbreak will increasingly focus public attention on issues of research integrity and biosecurity, we assessed the world’s top 20 undergraduate programmes in biology published by Quacquarelli Symonds. Most of these appear to lack any interaction between biology and law/ethics and the factual training for the next generation. Suggestions are made to improve teaching and learning processes in biological education. Copyright © 2020 Royal Society of Biology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-449
JournalJournal of Biological Education
Issue number4
Early online date17 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2022


Chan, A. H.-T., Whitton, B. A., & Chan, G. Y. S. (2022). The need for learning bioethics and law for biology students. Journal of Biological Education, 56(4), 443-449. doi: 10.1080/00219266.2020.1841667


  • Bioethics
  • Biosecurity
  • Law
  • COVID-19
  • Undergraduate curriculum


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