In this essay, I will summarize some of the latest study by using chemeras, in order to provide a context for the following study on the ethical issues encompassing stem cell research. Then provide a plan for how such challenges can be conveyed – so as to agree for the research to proceed while respecting these ethical concerns.
But firstly, I would give some insight about cybrids/chemeras. And why they are even considered for stem cells research in the first place? Chemeras were depicted as fire-breathing monsters having a tiger’s head, a body similar to a goat, with the tail of a serpent by Greeks. In modern biology, a chemera/cybrid is a transgenic species which is part animal part human (Stephen R. Munzer). The possibility of creating them gives rise to questions of morality as well as patent law. Having discussed the meaning of cybrids, we can now look into how they can help in the stem cell research. Primarily, cybrids are used in stem cell research as chimeric stem cells help in providing a platform to acquire an understanding of the embryonic development in a distinctive way. It also helps in testing efficiency of cell replacement therapies and building organs in model animals. We require cybrids for such research as our ability to use human samples is obviously contradictory to public morality.
Different kinds of human-animal chemeras may increase obvious moral problems , for example, to which tissues the human cells make a contribution to or how extended the chimeric animal survives. Chemeras that include human neural tissue are of precise concern, because the cognitive capacities of the chemeras might be affected, and because of the exclusive rapport of human beings in our culture.
Several experimental investigation are now using of human-animal chemeras. Recent experiment from Jacob Hanza”s lab has used the mouse embrayo as an in vivo system to test the potential of human pluripotent cells: creating chemeras by microo-injection of human embryonic stem cells into a mouse moruola and analysing the chimeric embryo shortly afterwords (Gafni et al.). provided that this experiment was appleid only to early embryos (10 days), the ethical concerns here are limited, but it is possible that central nervuos system (CNS) tissue containing both mouse and human cells will be found in this chemera.The long-term goal of this approach is to grow organs made exclusively from human cells in a chimeric animal, such as a chimpanzee, that could potentially be used for organ transplant. This goal is being pursued most actively by the research group of Hiro Nakauchi, focusing on the pancreas, although it still is at the hypothetical stage.
I believe, At least two categories of chemera research need to be created, as they might raise partly different ethical issues: in vitro studies of early embryos, and in vivo studies using living animals. The last mentioned raises extra issues of animal health and welfare.
One key ethical query is whether or not crossing species boundaries is in principle ethically wrong. If so, we need to think about whether or not the technology of stem cell chemeras represents a specific and controversial instance of such boundary crossing. The purpose why such problems are raised is that human biengs and animals are dealt with in a diffrent way in our tradition and have spcl. ethical and legal status: animals are not considered legal entities/beings and do not have rights in the way that pepole do.
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A particularly problematical research are when cognitive capacities are modified and when germ-line outcomes are delivered (in which the potential exists for the manufacturing of human embryos in animals or vice versa). Thus, center of attention in the moral discussion must be on chemeras in which adjustments have been brought that might afffect thier cognitive capacities, and in cases in which the mixture between species is so massive that confusion may arise as to which species the chimeric individual be longs too.
What are the other potential negative consequencses of these research? A possible list of worries includes:breach of human dignity; violation of the order of nature; risk and unpredictability; breach of the dignity of the cybrids; breach of taboo in contrast to the mixture of species; danger to moral uncertainity – should resulting chemeras be managed as humans or animals? Few of these concerns would probably seem irrelevant: for instance, human dignity is without question a belonging of humans, not of human cells, and as a result might also no longer be applicable to chimeric animals and thier embryos. Also, from an autonomous perpective Kant’ proposed that all beings deserve equal respect’, but in the case of chemeras creat a confusion as they may not be considered as humans.also, it cannot be decided if that species will suffer pain or experince happiness as all this depends entirely on the type of organ-focused research. For example, if the research’s main focus is on the neuronal tissues of a developed embryo, there is a possibility that the chemera might not even have the ability to feel anything once they are born. Therefore, it is critical to study carefully the arguments for and towards particular lines of research. Important values for those who are pursuing this research include security and efficacy. Certainly both are legitimate concerns, however they do not usually go together: a particular intervention can be safe however not effective, or advantageous but not safe.
From an ethical points of view, such experiments may be considered not virtuous because even though they may help on a research level to cure many deseases, it still does not give any rights of freedom or privacy to a cybreed. The key focus of ethics is conflicts of values, taken in a wide sense, including interests, rights, liberties and obligations. The answer to the question ‘what should be done’ has to be decided on the basis of the values at stake, ordered in standardizing importance.
I suggest that the following general guideline should be noted in this particular research area: first, I would recommend that establishment of new ethiccal frame-works or rules for every new tyipe of research-result to be avoided until and unless it is an entirely diffrent research which calls for some change. As far as posssible, same cases better be dealt with in the same pattern
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Lensch et al have argued that ‘human terattoma formation research in adult mice are justifiabl and should not be disaproved by animale care welfare without need for regulation by the stem cell research process. Thier motive is that “the requirment for teratoma assays with human embrayonic stem cells is compelling” and that “we consider that the risk of inadvertently creating a rhodent chemera with higher, human brain function is nearly impossible.” However, this point should be discussed against the recent experiments by Goldman and collaborators, as discussed. In particular, this research has illustrated the relative importance of niche and environmeant versus the origin of the transplanted cells – which ultimately concludes the final phenotype. This case is also interesting in that the research indicated a cognitive advancment in the transplanted mice. Certainly , this result is partly dependent on the methods of measurement and the criteria used for cognitive improvement, but it is worth discussion in relation to the ISSCR guidelines, which form a different opinion.
Göran Hermerén’s view is that the precaution principle has played significant of a role in discussions on what should or should not be allowed in terms of chemera research, at least if it is interpreted as saying that, if there is a risk, you don’t do anything. Inaction may also be unsustainable and can lead to harm: if we adopted a no-risk scenario, medical research will be suppressed and progress will not be possible. Instead, he suggested some version of the principle of correspondence. He argued that the risk-benefit analyzis can be improved by consideriing these following questions: Is the research aim importent? Are the methods to attain them feasible and are the aminities adequate? Are there any no less risky or non- controversial practices available? Do the relevant personnell have the training required to deal with the research tools and the animals?
If the answer to these questions is affimativ, then the research should be approve, but with appropriate cautionery measures. Sensible precautions might include using ancestors rather than pluripotent cells, and treating the humanised mice as one would treat transgenic crop: keep them isolated, make sure they do not mate with wild mice and kill them when the research is finished.
Ethical problems arise in a context of beliefs and values. If people have varying beliefs about modern and future trends, and do not want to achieve or avoid the similar goals, they will view the problem differently.Time is then necessary for dialogues between the stakeholders, including scientists, regulators, sufferers and organizations. In general, issues cant be settled once and for all, for the easy reason that research is still developing , values and preferences change, and so do perceptions of dangers and benefits. Top-down approaches must be avoided, as experience shows that they rarely work.The creation of pluripotent stem cells and the use of chemera research have unearthed new ethical challenges, but with these approaches to hand, research should be able to proceed without extra excessive rules and regulations.
Danish Council of Ethics (2008). Man or Mouse? Ethical aspects of chimaera research. Copenhagen, Denmark.
Göran Hermerén(2015), Ethical considerations in chemera research, 142, 3-5 doi:10.1242/dev.119024
Stephen R. Munzer, property,patents and genetic material. (Macquarie University Unit Reader)
Insoo hyun(2007),Ethical standards for human to animal experiments in stem cell research.
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