Which Duty First?

An Ethical Scheme on the Conflict Between Respect for Autonomy and Common Welfare in Order to Prepare the Moral Grounds for Trust
  • Peter Dabrock
Conference paper
Part of the Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Deutsches, Europäisches und Internationales Medizinrecht, Gesundheitsrecht und Bioethik der Universitäten Heidelberg und Mannheim book series (IMGB, volume 33)


Biobanks will only be established successfully and run sustainably if the principles, procedures of governance, management, control and participation are built solidly on trust. Against this backdrop, this paper proposes the idea that – subject to the development of some reasonable conditions – we cannot deny a certain moral obligation to participate in forms of biotechnological advances in genomics such as biobanks. In order to develop a sound argument, the theological and ethical approach that is taken in this contribution is sketched out. Thereby, a special (and not a general) account of moral obligations to participate in biobanking is defended. Such a scheme will, from its outset, take into account existing fears and anxieties but will serve not to assert these fears in general and therefore abolish the use of genomic-based measures, but to find a responsible way to deal with them. Therefore, the concepts of “genetic exceptionalism” and “persons genetically at risk”, which are prevalent in the debates about genomic research in general and biobanking in particular, are rejected. Dealing with the question whether there are obligations to participate in biobank research and which criteria might be relevant to determine the conditions, which make it legitimate to assume and to gradualize such obligations, an ethical model for balancing respect for autonomy and common welfare is developed, presented and defended.


Genomic Research Human Dignity Moral Obligation Ethical Approach Genetic Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Dabrock
    • 1
  1. 1.Friedrich-Alexander-UniversityErlangen-NurembergGermany

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