Sidebar: The Rule of Law

The past few decades have seen the ascendancy of a new class of science gadfly-the professional bioethicist. During this time, researchers have sometimes found themselves in a warring stance with these largely unbidden critics of biomedicine-and skirmishes between them are not unheard of, even yet. Today, however, the two professions are working hard to build a constructive relationship within which to address the important issues being raised by research advances in immunology, genetics, and other fields of biomedicine, according to members of both groups. With ethical considerations an increasingly integral part of research design, science-funding policy, and clinical practice, scientists and bioethicists are discovering new motivations to establish common ground.

"As the two communities understand each other better, they feel less that the other is a threat," says Nancy S. Wexler, a professor of clinical neuropsychology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons....

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