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Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 2008 Dec;18(4):347-67.

Reconstituting a human brain in animals: a Jewish perspective on human sanctity.

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Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA.


The potential use of stem cells in the treatment of a variety of human diseases has been a major driving force for embryonic stem cell research. Another productive area of research has been the use of human stem cells to reconstitute human organ systems in animals in an attempt to create new animal models for human diseases. However, the possibility of transplanting human embryonic brain cells or precursor brain cells into an animal fetus presents numerous ethical challenges. This paper examines, from a Jewish perspective on human dignity, several bioethical concerns related to the reconstitution of animal brains with human neurons.

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