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Transgenic Res. 2014 Apr;23(2):265-79. doi: 10.1007/s11248-013-9770-z. Epub 2013 Nov 30.

Faith-based perspectives on the use of chimeric organisms for medical research.

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The Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, University of Sydney, K25, Medical Foundation Building, 94-96 Parramatta Rd, Sydney, Australia,


Efforts to advance our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases involve the creation chimeric organisms from human neural stem cells and primate embryos--known as prenatal chimeras. The existence of potential mentally complex beings with human and non-human neural apparatus raises fundamental questions as to the ethical permissibility of chimeric research and the moral status of the creatures it creates. Even as bioethicists find fewer reasons to be troubled by most types of chimeric organisms, social attitudes towards the non-human world are often influenced by religious beliefs. In this paper scholars representing eight major religious traditions provide a brief commentary on a hypothetical case concerning the development and use of prenatal human-animal chimeric primates in medical research. These commentaries reflect the plurality and complexity within and between religious discourses of our relationships with other species. Views on the moral status and permissibility of research on neural human animal chimeras vary. The authors provide an introduction to those who seek a better understanding of how faith-based perspectives might enter into biomedical ethics and public discourse towards forms of biomedical research that involves chimeric organisms.

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