Forbidden Knowledge: Ethical Considerations in Genetic Research

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Researchers or Nurses who are involved in research studies can encounter numerous ethical issues when the research comprises human beings and animals in any discipline. Code of ethics was endorsed by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. “The commission, established by the National Research Act (Public Law 93-348), issued a report in 1978 that is referred to as the Belmont Report, which provided a model of guidelines adopted by the disciplinary organizations of the United States” (Polit & Beck, 2008, p. 169). The purpose of this essay is to identify the ethical issues on the given case, titled “Forbidden Knowledge,” explicate the ethical issues, determine and explain if cultural and religious norms are relevant and explore any ethical issues.

There were ethical issues noted in the case of forbidden knowledge. The first ethical issue is the right to protection from exploitation under the first primary ethical principle beneficence. The elders from community Z commenced the genetic research team and assert interest in genetic screening to determine families at risk of having an infant with BCK a metabolic birth defect. Also, the elders consulted with the genetic research team to provide diagnostic testing to enable immediate treatment of affected infants. The elders in community Z are the decision makers on issues affecting community members. The case did not mention if the community members were aware that they would be participants in the research study. It is pertinent that the community members need to be informed of this decision to prevent exploitation. The genetic researcher needs to counsel the elders on the importance of disclosing the interest in gene...

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... of identifying ethical issues in the case study “Forbidden Knowledge”, explicating the ethical issues, explaining the cultural and religious norms, and exploring further ethical issues provided the reader knowledge on why ethical principles and generating research evidence ethically is critical in conducting research.


Online Ethics Center for Engineering (2006). Forbidden knowledge [Case study]. National

Academy of Engineering. Retrieved from

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Stommel, M., & Wills, C. E. (2004). Clinical Research. Concepts and principles for advanced practice nurses. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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