The foundation of the database is the original Bioethics Thesaurus, which was developed at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and was used to index BIOETHICSLINE from 1975-2000. The first published edition of the Bioethics Thesaurus appeared in the 1975 edition of Bibliography of Bioethics, containing 475 Keyword Descriptors. In 1999 a print edition of the Bioethics Thesaurus was published that contained 715 Keyword Descriptors. It has been updated extensively, particularly to include new genetics terms for the GenETHX database, and new Islamic ethics terms for the Islamic Medical and Scientific Ethics database and is now contains more than 745 keywords.
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