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Can we justify using animals parts for human medical development?
Monica Bonaccorso is a social anthropologist and works at the University of Cambridge in the Department of social anthropology. She is currently working on a Wellcome Trust funded project on peoples’ views of the human and animal genetic technologies.
For my work I am interviewing people and I am asking what they think of the animal genetic technologies and how they interfere with us humans. Do they think that the use of animals for research and therapeutic gain is ethical or unethical? Do they believe that the end justifies the means? Do they feel comfortable with the transfer of genes, tissues and organs between animals and humans? Some people feel that it’s OK to clone mammals like dolly the sheep for scientific progress. They also feel that it is acceptable to make transgenic animals, and given the shortage of human organs for transplants, to manipulate the genetic make up of pigs to make them suitable for human organ transplantation (a technology called xenotransplantation with no clinical application yet - scientists are divided if it will ever…). Some others find the all practice repugnant and believe that there are other ways to progress science; some believe we should just accept illnesses and our own destiny, including life-threatening conditions and even our own possible premature death. I believe that it’s extremely important that we think very seriously about what we are prepared to accept and how far we want to go. A lady I recently interviewed told me “"It's dead easy to say no to a piglet's heart when you haven't got a life-threatening condition...but it's also dead scary to say oh! Yes let's go ahead with filling up our bodies with animal bits...” Most people find the question of crossing human-animal boundaries particularly challenging!
Debate started 22/05/2006
REPLIES POSTED: 7
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BACKGROUND:

In recent years the most dramatic development in the crossing of species has grown out of cloning. Soon after the news of the birth of Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal, many researchers around the world reported the cloning of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. This work sparked a global debate about the potential research and therapeutic applications of cloning technologies, just as GM animals and xenotransplantation (animal-to-human organ transplantation) did. The Science Museum has several objects relating to the issue of cloning, including the electrofusion apparatus used to create Dolly and a jumper made from the first fleece produced by her. Dolly died in 2003 from lung failure, possibly unrelated to the cloning. An earlier product of this research programme, the sheep Tracy, had been genetically modified so that her milk produced a human protein called alpha antitrypsin, a potential treatment for the disease cystic fibrosis. Her preserved body is displayed in the Science Museum’s Making the Modern World gallery.

Some have accused scientists carrying out this type of work of ‘playing god’ and ‘going too far’. Others take what they call a more ‘pragmatic’ view and look forward to the benefits of life-saving treatment that advances in science from animal experimentation and the use of animal body parts could bring. They believe that the end justifies the means.

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READ KEY TOPIC: READ RELATED TOPICS:  
> Life, God and DNA
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Name / Country Comment
Cloning Posted 22/05/2006 11:56
cloning animals
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arun Posted 23/05/2006 7:03
India I feel that there is nothing wrong with xenotransplantation and related researches.Even the most debated human cloning- scientists will only findout something new if they try the most challenging things ( Their findings may be usefull or distructive, and which one should we adopt or reject is left to us).And moreover I totally disagree with mixing religion with science. I would like to add this bit for you kind reference:-There was a great surgeon in India before 4000 years. his name was SHUSHRUTHAN and he wrote a book on human anatamy and surgery calld SHUSRUTHA SAMHITHA (It is in SANSKRIT language). As discribed in this book he did plastic surgery and many complicated surgeries during that period of time. If you can refer this book you may find something usefull related to your interest.
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rety4 Posted 13/09/2006 18:04
United Kingdom xenotransplantation sounds like a scary prospect but if it works then certainly Im all for xenotransplantation. I mean I am not the type to shed years off my life because Im picky about what goes in to replace what comes out of my body.
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monimilla Posted 26/11/2006 23:03
Choose Yes -sure - definitely. If we can eat them why shouldn't we use their organs? Accepting a pig's liver would be easier than getting into this web site! Make it simpler!
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MikeLevy Posted 16/07/2007 17:37
United States Most intellectual brains are already cloned into believe in what they say is true?
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