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Ethics & Human Research

Translational Bioethics and Public Input

ABSTRACT Translational science is justified as advancing the public’s interests but has no mechanism for determining these interests. Standard social science approaches would produce either unrepresentative descriptions or a cacophony of data not easily condensed into a concrete conclusion about moving forward with a translational-science project. Here, I propose that the simplifying and structuring ethics employed by institutional review boards (IRBs) be used to create social science reports of the four to six most prominent values or principles of the public regarding a biotechnology. A board of bioethicists would weigh and balance these values to conclude whether the public supports a given translational-science innovation.

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