Korean Regulation of Stem Cell and Human Genetic Research

  • Kyungsuk Choi


This paper deals with Korean regulations on embryonic stem cell research and genetic research. It explains Bioethics and Safety Act in detail related to embryonic research and genetic test, research, and therapy including gene bank. In addition, some limitations of the Act and some issues in its interpretation are mentioned. Korea has legally allowed SCNT embryonic stem cell research as well as embryonic research under the Act since 2005. The Act has regulations about informed consent, review system, protection of personal information, anonymization, and prohibition of discrimination based on genetic information. From the perspective of the regulative approach, Korea has strong regulations on embryonic stem cell research and genetic test, research, and therapy in that it runs an act like Bioethics and Safety Act, not any guidelines. However, there may be some difficulties in regulating bioethical issues by an act because it is likely not to be easy to revise. In addition, the Act includes lots of contents that had better be regulated by Presidential decree or enforcement, or even just guidelines made by professional societies. In order to make bioethical issues regulated by an act, ethical guidelines based on consensus should have established. Establishing bioethics policies is a process to reach consensus through deliberative democracy, where the use of “public reason” is required. This should be also applied to global bioethics policies. Different policies in bioethics may give a wrong message to scientists and laypersons that ethics is relative to countries and cultures although we reach lots of ethical agreements across countries and cultures.

Author Biography

Kyungsuk Choi

School of Law, Ewha Womans University

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