Ethics of genetic altering explored at ASU student conference

March 1, 2005

By hammersmith

“Ethical Issues in Genetic Modification” was the topic of a February 25 public lecture at Arizona State University’s Armstrong Hall, part of the 2005 Western Regional Bioethics Conference. The lecture was sponsored by the Arizona Consortium for Medicine, Society, and Values.


At the lecture, attended by over 250 conference-goers, four noted academicians provided background and differing views on the genetic modification of humans, animals, and plants – an issue that raises serious moral issues for society. Dr. David Young, Vice President and Dean of ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, moderated the panel, comprised of:

  • Dr. Adrienne Asch, Professor in Biology, Ethics, and the Politics of Human Reproduction at Wellesley College;
  • Dr. Mark Frankel, Director of the Scientific Freedom, Responsibility, and Law Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS);
  • Sarah Iden, Genetic Counselor at the University of Arizona; and
  • Dr. Lee Silver, Professor of Molecular Biology and Public Affairs at Princeton University.

The two-day Western Regional Bioethics Conference was organized entirely by ASU students and attended by collegians and faculty from across the western U.S. Its primary goals were to serve as a resource for academic and professional institutions to study bioethics at a more regional level and to foster debate on some of the most relevant issues in modern bioethics. According to Brenda Flores, a conference organizer and ASU biology major, “A lot of people want to find out more about these issues. This is a forum where students can discuss and ask questions and then decide what’s right or wrong.”

In addition to the ACMSV, numerous departments and programs of ASU sponsored the full conference:Associated Students of ASU; Public Activities Board Bioethics, Policy, and Law Program; College of Law; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Learning Communities; Religious Studies Department; Biodesign Institute at ASU; Center for Biology and Society; Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics; and Minority Access to Research Careers Program.


The Arizona Consortium for Medicine, Society and Values explores ethical, humanistic, legal, and policy aspects of medicine and its relations to society and values. It principally organizes educational events for the medical and larger communities. Through those programs, Arizonans enjoy a vibrant forum for exploring the implications of taking bioscientific discoveries and clinical innovations into society. Consortium partners include the ASU Center for Biology and Society, ASU Barrett Honors College, Flinn Foundation, Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, Translational Genomics Research Center, and University of Arizona Health Sciences (Phoenix Campus).