Systemic Modelling in Bioethics

New Bioeth. 2020 Sep;26(3):197-209. doi: 10.1080/20502877.2020.1796258. Epub 2020 Jul 27.


We present here a new method for bioethics: systemic modelling. In this method, the complex phenomenon being studied (e.g. personalized medicine, genetic testing, gene therapy, genetically modified organisms) is modelled as a whole, to shed light on its organization and functioning, and major (bio)ethical issues and solutions for their resolution are then identified. This systemic modelling method is ideal for use in the identification of solutions, rather than their validation, with other methods then used to test the solutions found. We provide a description and reproducible instructions for the application of systemic modelling in bioethics, together with a brief example of the application of this method to the study of the impact of personalized medicine on French society.

Keywords: Bioethics; complex phenomena; personalized medicine; systemic modelling.

MeSH terms

  • Bioethics*
  • Ethical Analysis / methods*
  • Genetic Testing
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Organisms, Genetically Modified
  • Precision Medicine
  • Systems Analysis