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A framework for the ethical assessment of chimeric animal research involving human neural tissue

BMC Medical Ethics, 2019-01-25, Vol.20(1) [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    A framework for the ethical assessment of chimeric animal research involving human neural tissue
  • Author: Porsdam Mann, Sebastian ; Sun, Rosa ; Hermerén, Göran
  • Found In: BMC Medical Ethics, 2019-01-25, Vol.20(1) [Peer Reviewed Journal]
  • Subjects: Animal Research Ethics ; Chimeric Research ; Cognitive Capacities, Dignity, Ethical Assessment. ; Human Neural Chimeras ; Moral Status ; Medicin Och Hälsovetenskap ; Hälsovetenskap ; Medicinsk Etik ; Medical And Health Sciences ; Health Sciences ; Medical Ethics
  • Language: English
  • Description: Background: Animal models of human diseases are often used in biomedical research in place of human subjects. However, results obtained by animal models may fail to hold true for humans. One way of addressing this problem is to make animal models more similar to humans by placing human tissue into animal models, rendering them chimeric. Since technical and ethical limitations make neurological disorders difficult to study in humans, chimeric models with human neural tissue could help advance our understanding of neuropathophysiology. Main body: In this article, we examine whether the introduction of human neural tissue and any consequent cognitive change is relevant to the way we ought to treat chimeras. We argue that changes in cognitive abilities are morally relevant to the extent that they increase the capacities that affect the moral status of any entity, including awareness, autonomy, and sociability. We posit that no being, regardless of species, should be treated in a way that is incommensurate with its moral status. Finally, we propose a framework that can be used to guide ethical assessment of research involving chimeras with advanced cognitive capacities. Conclusion: We advance this framework as a useful tool for bringing relevant considerations to the forefront for those considering the ethical merit of proposed chimeric research. In doing so, we examine concepts relevant to the question of how any entity may be treated, including moral status, dignity, and capacities.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 1472-6939 ; ISSN: 1472-6939 ; DOI: 10.1186/s12910-019-0345-2

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