Bioethics is a branch of applied ethics which studies the philosophical, social and legal issues arising in medicine and life sciences. It is a relatively modern science, emerging only in the 1960s.
Sciences are always progressing. Experiments and research are endless, the outcome varied, sometimes contradictory but always evolving. Biological sciences unlike physical sciences deal with life, human or animal. Inevitably then, raises the question of ethics. The ethical question can never be answered with unanimity. What some find ideal others find revolting! Nevertheless, it is an important facet and has to be addressed. Here lies the origin of Bioethics. It looks into issues ranging from the boundaries of life, like abortion and Euthanasia (mercy killing) to allocation of scarce health resources, like organ donation, health care rationing etc. It also addresses the right to turn down medical care for religious or cultural reasons. A bioethicist has to be intelligent, honest and in touch with various other disciplines, religion and culture to arrive at a decision. Genetics and related subjects of cloning, use of human tissue for human-animal embryo experiments without consent are some important questions that Bioethics attempts to solve.
With the expansion of research in biological sciences and industry, and its consequent effect on human and animal life, Bioethics will play a vital role.