Graduate Study - Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
3+2 Genetics and Bioengineering

Code Name Level Year Semester
GBE 542 Ethics and Public Policy in Bioengineering Graduate 1 Spring
Status Number of ECTS Credits Class Hours Per Week Total Hours Per Semester Language
6 150 English

Instructor Assistant Coordinator
Almir Badnjević, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Almir Badnjevic Damir Marjanović, Prof. Dr.
[email protected] [email protected] no email

This course is organized as a general overview of possible ethical issues and legal regulations related to bioengineering and new biotechnologies that are interesting for both professional community and public. The introductory part of the course is consisted of short explanation of ethics – its definition, classification, and how it relates to modern science. The rest of the course is mainly consisted of real-life examples of situations in which bioengineering caused contrasting views to arise and was a subject of public debates. Probably the most well-known case is that of HeLa cell lines, which is the first topic discussed in this module. At the end of semester, students are organizing a debate in which they are discussing the need for GM crops in Africa. In that way, students will show their understanding of ethics in bioengineering, but will also be given a chance to express their personal opinions on this current topic.

 Introduction to ethics.
 Giving an outline of the history of bioethics.
 Explaining the steps required to perform research in an ethical way.
 Defining the risks of genetic engineering

  1. Introduction to the course
  2. Ethics: Definition and basic principles
  3. Bioengineering and questions of philosophical, social, and practical import
  4. Bioethics and its history: The HeLa cell line case and the issue of the human subjects of biotechnological research
  5. Weighing competing values: Informed consent, profit, and the public good
  6. Advocates and critics of the new bioengineering applications
  7. Defining the risks of genetic engineering
  9. The growth of an industry: Patenting life and university-industry relations
  10. Agricultural biotechnology: The Golden Rice case; food safety and environmental issues
  11. Gene therapy: Advantages and possible drawbacks
  12. Genetically modified organisms: Pros and cons
  13. Reproductive technologies: From in vitro fertilization to designer babies
  14. Cloning and stem cells
  15. Student debate: Does Africa need GM crops?


    • Interactive Lectures
    • Presentation
    • Discussions and group work
    Description (%)
    Method Quantity Percentage (%)
    Midterm Exam(s)130
    Class Deliverables130
    Final Exam140
    Total: 100
    Learning outcomes
    • Recall basic terminology regarding ethics and bioethics
    • Memorize the history of bioethics
    • Apply steps necessary to conduct scientific research in an ethical way
    • Define the risks of genetic engineering
    • Critically discuss the advantages and possible drawbacks of gene therapy
    • Gehring, V. V. (2003). Genetic Prospects: Essays on biotechnology, ethics, and public policy. Lanham: Rowman& Littlefield

    ECTS (Allocated based on student) WORKLOAD
    Activities Quantity Duration (Hour) Total Work Load
    Lecture (14 weeks x Lecture hours per week)15345
    Laboratory / Practice (14 weeks x Laboratory/Practice hours per week)15230
    Midterm Examination (1 week)122
    Final Examination(1 week)122
    Preparation for Midterm Examination11010
    Preparation for Final Examination12020
    Assignment / Homework/ Project12121
    Seminar / Presentation12020
    Total Workload: 150
    ECTS Credit (Total workload/25): 6