Biotechnology is generally defined as the modification of biological materials and organisms for specific uses or purposes. Examples include genetic engineering, drug-delivery systems, and animal-human hybrid embryos. While some of these technologies hold the promise of improved treatments and therapies for disease, the ethics of manipulating biological organisms (especially human organisms) is called into question for certain biotechnologies.  Articles in this section examine the ethics surrounding biotechnology, including the ends for which these are pursued, the effects on our understanding of what it means to be human, and the subsequent impact on our common humanity. For biotech discussions particular to cloning and stem cell research, please see the respective pages addressing those issues.


  • Michael Sleasman, “Bioethics Past, Present, and Future: Important Signposts in Human Dignity” (An overview of bioethics and the breadth of issues it encompasses).
  • Edmund Pellegrino, “Biotechnology, Human Enhancement, and the Ends of Medicine.”
  • Paige Comstock Cunningham, “Ligers, Tigons, and Splice: Human-Animal Hybrids.”
  • Erwin Lutzer, “Biotechnology's Brave New World.”
  • C. Ben Mitchell and John Kilner, “Remaking Humans; The New Utopians Versus a Truly Human Future.”
  • Heather Zeiger, “A Quick Guide to Embryo-Like Things: Products and Processes.”
  • Heather Zeiger, “Embryoids: Unique Entities or Protected Like Human Embryos?”
  • Michael Sleasman, “Biotechnology Meets Primetime TV.”
  • Video resource from our Academy of Fellow Consultations on “Biotechnologies and Human Nature: What We Should Not Change in Who We Are


Biotechnology (General)

  • Agar, Nicholas. Humanity's End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010.
  • Allen, Clarissa. Intellectual Property and Biotechnology: Theoretical Arguments and Empirical Evidence. Montreal: Lambert Academic Publishing, 2011.
  • Bailey, Ronald. Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2005.
  • Bainbridge, William Sims. Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance: Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2010.
  • Bains, William. Biotechnology: From A to Z. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Bains, William. Venture Capital and the European Biotechnology Industry. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
  • Bess, Michael. Our Grandchildren Redesigned: Life in the Bioengineered Society of the Near Future. Boston: Beacon Press, 2015
  • Bauer, M.W., and G. Gaskell, eds. Biotechnology: The Making of a Global Controversy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Borém, Aluí­zio, Fabrí­cio R. Santos, and David E. Bowen. Understanding Biotechnology.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2003.
  • Briggle, Adam, ed. A Rich Bioethics: Public Policy, Biotechnology, and the Kass Council. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010.
  • Brodwin, Paul, ed. Biotechnology and Culture: Bodies, Anxieties, Ethics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001.
  • Chadwick, Ruth, ed. The Concise Encyclopedia of the Ethics of New Technologies. San Diego: Academic Press, 2001.
  • Cole-Turner, Ronald. Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement. Georgetown University Press, 2011.
  • Collins, Steven. The Race to Commercialize Biotechnology: Molecules, Market and the State in Japan and the US. New York: Routledge, 2004.
  • Colson, Charles W., and Nigel M. De S. Cameron. Human Dignity in the Biotech Century: A Christian Vision for Public Policy. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2004. ***
  • Dhanda, Rahul K. Guiding Icarus: Merging Bioethics with Corporate Interests. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002.
  • Finegold, David L., Cecile M. Bensimon, Abdallah S. Daar, Margaret L. Eaton, Beatrice Godard, Bartha Maria Knoppers, Jocelyn Mackie, and Peter A. Singer. BioIndustry Ethics. San Diego: Academic, 2005.
  • Friedman, Yali. Building Biotechnology: Business, Regulations, Patents, Law, Policy, Science. 4th ed. Washington, DC: Logos Press, 2014.
  • Fukuyama, Francis. Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2002.
  • Gehring, Verna V., ed. Genetic Prospects: Essays on Biotechnology, Ethics, and Public Policy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004.
  • Jersild, Paul. The Nature of Our Humanity: The Ethics of Genetics and Biotechnology. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2009.
  • Jotterand, Fabrice, ed. Emerging Conceptual, Ethical and Policy Issues in Bionanotechnology. New York: Springer, 2010.
  • Kampowski, Stehpan. A Greater Freedom: Biotechnology, Love, and Human Destiny. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2013.
  • Kilner, John F., C. Christopher Hook, and Diann B. Uustal. Cutting-Edge Bioethics: A Christian Exploration of Technologies and Trends. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002. ***
  • Kurzweil, Ray. The Age of Spiritual Machines. New York: Penguin, 1999.
  • Lake, Christina Bieber. Prophets of the Posthuman: American Fiction, Biotechnology, and the Ethics of Personhood. University of Notre Dame Press, 2013.
  • Langlois, Adèle. Negotiating Bioethics: The Governance of UNESCO’s Bioethics Program. New York: Routledge, 2013.
  • Lee, Shui Chuen. The Family, Medical Decision-making, and Biotechnology: Critical Reflections on Asian Moral Perspectives. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, 2007.
  • Lustig, B. Andrew, Baruch A. Brody, Gerald P. McKenny, eds. Altering Nature. Volume II: Religion, Biotechnology, and Public Policy. New York: Springer, 2010.
  • Kirbas, Paul J. Navigating Through a Stipulated Freedom: Discovering a Guiding Biblical Compass for the Journey of Biotechnology. South Bend, IN: Loverdale Books, 2007.
  • Miller, Roman J., Beryl H. Brubaker, and James C. Peterson, eds. Viewing New Creations with Anabaptist Eyes: Ethics of Biotechnology. Telford, PA: Cascadia Publishing House, 2005.
  • Mitchell, C. Ben, Edmund D. Pellegrino, Jean Bethke Elshtain, John F. Kilner, and Scott B. Rae.  Biotechnology and the Human Good. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2007. ***
  • Moyse, Ashley John. Reading Karl Barth, Interrupting Moral Technique, Transforming Biomedical Ethics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
  • O'Mahony, Patrick, ed. Nature, Risk and Responsibility: Discourses of Biotechnology. New York: Routledge, 1999.
  • Postman, Neil. Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. New York: Vintage, 1992.
  • President's Council on Bioethics. Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.
  • Rajan, Kaushik Sunder, ed. Lively Capital: Biotechnologies, Ethics, and Governance in Global Markets. Duke University Press, 2012.
  • Read, Catherine Y., Robert C. Green, and Michael A. Smyer, eds. Aging, Biotechnology, and the Future. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.
  • Reuter, Lars. Modern Biotechnology in Postmodern Times? A Reflection on European Policies and Human Agency. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, 2003.
  • Roco, Mihail C. and William Sims Bainbridge, eds. Managing Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno Innovations: Converging Technologies in Society. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, 2006.
  • Rollin, Bernard E. Science and Ethics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • Schaller, Barry R. Understanding Bioethics and the Law: The Promises and Perils of the Brave New World of Biotechnology. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008.
  • Smith, George P., II. The Christian Religion and Biotechnology: A Search for Principled Decision-Making. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, 2010.
  • Sutton, Sean D., ed. Biotechnology: Our Future as Human Beings and Citizens. State University of New York Press, 2009.
  • Thiele, Felix, and R.E. Ashcroft, eds. Bioethics in a Small World. New York: Springer, 2005.
  • Thompson, Paul B. Food Biotechnology in Ethical Perspective. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, 2007.
  • Vallero, Daniel. Biomedical Ethics for Engineers: Ethics and Decision Making in Biomedical and Biosystem Engineering. San Diego: Academic, 2007.
  • Venter, J. Craig. Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life. Reprint ed. New York: Penguin, 2014.

Out of Print

  • Andrews, Lori, and Dorothy Nelkin. Body Bazaar: The Market for Human Tissue in the Biotechnology Age. New York: Crown, 2001.
  • Fumento, Michael. Bioevolution: How Biotechnology is Changing Our World. San Francisco: Encounter, 2003.
  • Hanson, Mark J. Claiming Power Over Life: Religion and Biotechnology Policy. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2001.
  • Harris, John. Wonderwoman and Superman: The Ethics of Human Biotechnology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Hauskeller, Michael. Biotechnology and the Integrity of Life. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007. (e-book edition available)
  • Morrey, John D. Ethical Issues in Biotechnology. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. (e-book edition available)
  • Morris, Jonathan. The Ethics of Biotechnology. New York: Chelsea House, 2005.
  • Nwabueze, Remigius N. Biotechnology and the Challenge of Property. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007. (e-book edition available)
  • Oliver, Richard W. The Coming Biotech Age. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000. (e-book edition available)
  • Rifkin, Jeremy. The Biotech Century. New York: Penguin Putnam, 1998.

Animal-Human Hybrids

  • Bonnicksen, Andrea L. Chimeras, Hybrids, and Interspecies Research: Politics and Policymaking. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2009.
  • Chia, Roland. Hybrids, Cybrids and Chimeras: The Ethics of Interspecies Research. Singapore: Genesis Books, 2012.
  • Jones, David Albert. Chimera's Children: Ethical, Philosophical and Religious Perspectives on Human-Nonhuman Experimentation. New York: Continuum, 2012.
  • Suarez, Antoine and Joachim Huarte, eds. Is this Cell a Human Being?: Exploring the Status of Embryos, Stem Cells and Human-Animal Hybrids. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, 2011.
  • Taupitz, Joachen and Marion Weschka, eds. CHIMBRIDS: Chimeras and Hybrids in Comparative European and International Research. Dordecht, Netherlands: Spring, 2009.


See Genetic Ethics Bibliography for more information.

Human Cloning

See Cloning Bibliography for more information.


See Emerging Technology Bibliography for more information.

Stem Cell Research

See Stem Cell Research Bibliography for more information.

Synthetic Biology & Artificial Life

  • Bedau, Mark A. and Emily C. Parke. The Ethics of Protocells: Moral and Social Implications of Creating Life in the Laboratory. Basic Bioethics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009.
  • Brooks, Rodney A. Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us. New York: Pantheon, 2002.
  • Church, George M. and Ed Regis. Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves. New York: Basic Books, 2012.
  • Giese, Bernd, Christian Pade, Henning Wigger, and Arnim von Gleich, eds. Synthetic Biology: Character and Impact. New York: Springer, 2015.
  • Kurzweil, Ray. The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. New York: Penguin Group, 2005.
  • Moravec, Hans. Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • Negrotti, Massimo. The Reality of the Artificial: Nature, Technology and Naturoids. New York: Springer, 2012.
  • Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. New Directions: The Ethics of Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies. Washington, D.C.: Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, 2010.
  • Rabinow, Paul and Gaymon Bennett. Designing Human Practices: An Experiment with Synthetic Biology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.
  • Schmidt, Markus, ed. Synthetic Biology: Indstrial and Environmental Applications. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH, 2012.

Out of Print

  • Cox, Earl D., and George S. Paul. Beyond Humanity: CyberEvolution and Future Minds. Roackland, MA: Charles River Media, 1996.
  • Kurzweil, Ray. Are We Spiritual Machines? Ray Kurzweil vs. the Critics of Strong A.I. Seattle: Discovery Institute, 2001.
  • Schmidt, Markus, Alexander Kelle, Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra, and Huib de Vriend, eds. Synthetic Biology: The Technoscience and Its Societal Consequences. New York: Springer, 2009. (e-book edition available)

For additional related material, see the Organ Donation & Transplantation and Human Enhancement bibliographies

*** Designates Christian Resources

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