Centre for Biological Signalling Studies

PD Dr. Joachim Boldt

PD Dr. Joachim Boldt

Institut für Ethik und Geschichte der Medizin
University of Freiburg

+49 761 203 5048


Synthetic biology raises philosophical and ethical challenges. The “creation of life” is an act that has long inspired literary and philosophical imagery and reflection. With regard to synthetic biology it needs to be asked whether research in this area can be correctly described as acts of creation of this kind, and, if so, whether this may have ethically relevant implications. Furthermore, synthetic biology’s products may have unintended effects on humans and nature, and products may be subject to intentional misuse. Hence, biosafety and biosecurity are two further areas of ethical inquiry with regard to synthetic biology.


10 selected publications

Monographies / Edited Volumes

  • Synthetic Biology. Metaphors, Worldviews, Ethics, and Law.
    Boldt J (Hg.) (2016).
    Springer VS, Wiesbaden.
  • Leben schaffen? Ethische Reflexionen zur Synthetischen Biologie.
    Boldt J, Müller O, Maio G (Hg.) (2011).
    Mentis, Paderborn


Journal Articles/ Articles in Edited Volumes

  • Ethical principles for the use of human cellular biotechnologies.
    Wolpe PR, Rommelfanger KS, Drafting and Reviewing Delegates of the BEINGS Working Groups (2017)
    Nat. Biotechnol. 35, 1050–1058./li>
  • Ethische Prinzipien zur Beurteilung von neuen Biotechnologien. Ein Vergleich von drei Stellungnahmen.
    Boldt J (2016)
    Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik 24, S. 99-111.
  • Life as a technological product.
    Philosophical and ethical aspects of synthetic biology. Boldt J (2013).
    Biological Theory. DOI 10.1007/s13752-013-0138-7.
  • Do we have a moral obligation to synthesize organisms to increase biodiversity? On kinship, awe, and the value of life's diversity.
    Boldt J (2013). 
    Bioethics 27, 8, 411-418.
  • Creating Life: Synthetic Biology and Ethics.
    Boldt J (2013).
    In: Kaebnick GE, Murray TH (Hg.): Synthetic Biology and Morality. Artificial Life and the Bounds of Nature. MIT, Cambridge/MA, S. 35-50.
  • Herstellen, verändern, erschaffen. Die Synthetische Biologie als prometheische Biotechnologie.
    Boldt J (2013). 
    In: Deutscher Ethikrat (Hg.): Werkstatt Leben. Bedeutung der Synthetischen Biologie für Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft. Deutscher Ethikrat, Berlin, S. 89-100.
  • Der Herstellungsbegriff in der Synthetischen Biologie.
    Boldt J, Matern H, Müller O, Eichinger T, Ried J (2012).
    Jahrbuch Wissenschaft und Ethik 17, 89-116.
  • A question of ethics (letter).
    Boldt J, Müller O (2009).
    Science 323, 5912, 339.
  • Newtons of the leaves of grass.
    Boldt J, Müller O (2008).
    Nat Biotechnology 26,4, 387-389.