Author Archives: Chris MacDonald

About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.

Oil-Eating Microbes

Most people probably don’t know that there are naturally-occurring microbes that make their living by eating naturally-occurring hydrocarbons (hydrocarbons are organic compounds that consist entirely of hydrogen and carbon, and that are found in crude oil). The existence of such … Continue reading

Posted in environment, genes, industrial biotechnology, risk | 4 Comments

Imitating Evolution

Someone (I can’t recall the source) once said that rather than envy the creative power of nature, we ought to emulate it. Genetic algorithms have, for a couple of decades now, allowed scientists and engineers to harness the power of … Continue reading

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Berkeley Backs Down on Gene Tests for Students

I blogged here a few months ago about UC Berkeley’s plan to do (voluntary) genetic testing on this year’s entire first-year class. (See: Genetic Testing and the College Freshman) Now the university is backing down. Or rather, the university has … Continue reading

Posted in ethics, genes, genetic testing, health, risk | 1 Comment

DTC Genetic Tests: Justifying Regulation

Regulation and ethics aren’t the same thing. But when done properly, good regulation is rooted in good ethical reasons. If we want to think in a constructive way about existing or potential regulations, we need to consider the values and … Continue reading

Posted in ethics, genes, genetic testing, regulation | Leave a comment

Meat and Milk from the Offspring of Clones

Over at my Food Ethics Blog, I’ve got a new (short) posting about cloning animals for food: Milk and Meat from the Offspring of Clones. (Not surprisingly, given that this is 2010, there’s turning out to be a fair bit … Continue reading

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Venter on the Past & Future of Genomics (etc.)

From Der Spiegel: Interview with Craig Venter: ‘We Have Learned Nothing from the Genome’ The whole thing is worth reading, but here are a few snippets I found interesting. First, here’s Venter being dismissive about fears related to genomic knowledge: … Continue reading

Posted in Craig Venter, ethics, genes, Human Genome Project | Leave a comment

The Death of the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Agency

Government involvement in biotech takes many forms, and government agencies take a variety of shapes and play a range of roles. Direct regulation — setting standards, prohibiting this and that — is not the only option. So when evaluating the … Continue reading

Posted in embryos, Europe, IVF, regulation | 1 Comment

Europeans & Cloned Food Animals

Check out this blog entry over at my new Food Ethics Blog: Cloned Animals, Food, Ethics. The short version: attempts by European Parliamentarians to ban food from cloned animals was predictable, and based on what look to be pretty terrible … Continue reading

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Uncontrollable Risks of Genetic Testing

A lot has been written about the risks & mostly theoretical & associated with genetic testing. Genetic information is highly personal, often difficult to understand, subject to considerable interpretation, and of widely variable predictive power. Two main kinds of worries … Continue reading

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Genetic Testing and the College Freshman

Gone are the days when a college student’s first exposure to genetics came after the first day of school, in a biology class. U.C. Berkeley is offering (or should I say “offering”) genetic testing to a few thousand freshmen this … Continue reading

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