Is human-pig stem cell chimera research ‘jumping ahead of ethical considerations’?

| | February 1, 2017
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

[Editor’s note: Excerpts are from an opinion piece written by Lori Marino, executive director of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy and a former faculty member in neuroscience at Emory University.]

As a neuroscientist, I appreciate groundbreaking research [regarding the creation of a human-pig chimera]…But I also believe that science should be guided by ethics, and this work seems to be jumping ahead of ethical considerations.

This work is part of a larger trend toward increasingly invasive and manipulative practices: monkeys that show symptoms of autism, transgenic mice with altered vocalizations so they “stutter,” [and] cows that produce “humanized” milk….

The possibilities have many researchers giddy with excitement. But they also raise serious ethical dilemmas about the moral status of these part-human animals.

As we continue down the path of this unprecedented manipulation of sentient beings and pour funding into it, we simultaneously limit funding for alternative solutions to our health problems, including prevention, consensual human trials, [and] incentives for organ donation…All too soon, when we look back on the path of chimeric research that we’ve chosen, we may not like what we see. But by then it will be too late.

Tens of millions of animals are sickened, injured, genetically manipulated, and killed in biomedical labs every year…That leads to the inescapable conclusion that we have already crossed a number of moral lines.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: We’ve created human-pig chimeras — but we haven’t weighed the ethics

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