sábado, 10 de septiembre de 2016

Debate over chimera embryos intensifies

Debate over chimera embryos intensifies

Debate over chimera embryos intensifies

The debate over research into chimera embryos has intensified in the US, as the National Institutes of Health may abandon its long-standing ban on the funding of chimera research.

Last month the NIH announced that it expects to replace the ban with an "internal steering committee" that would make decisions on the funding of research.

In an opinion piece published last week in PLOS Biology, Case Western Reserve University bioethicist Insoo Hyun argued that the NIH should not be so cautious about research that is ethically permissible and has borne impressive results.

"Given the noble aims of this research, it is puzzling to some why the NIH is so nervous about providing federal funds to researchers with a track record of success in this area. The NIH has for years supported research in which human cells are transplanted into animal models, and it continues to fund human/nonhuman chimera research that lies outside the scope of research singled out in its notice of moratorium."
Hyun argued that the question of animal welfare may indeed be of more concern that than concerns about the “moral humanization” of chimeras.

"...the ethics and regulation of chimera research should prioritize animal welfare principles while at the same time enabling scientific progress in areas of humanitarian importance, albeit in a manner consistent with these principles."
On the other side of the ethical divide, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published an open letter to the NIH outlining a series of concerns about the proposed ethics framework.

"Catholic morality does not object in principle to the respectful use of animals in research that can benefit humanity. But because of the unique dignity of the human person, there are limits to what can morally be done along this line…“The NIH proposal... [permits] the destruction of human embryos; it contemplates producing entities with partly or wholly human brains (without any additional level of scrutiny in the case of rodents); and it allows for producing living entities who have human gametes (though researchers will be told to take precautions so these entities do not engage in ‘breeding’)."
The USCCB called for the proposal to be set aside.
- See more at: http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/debate-over-chimera-embryos-intensifies/11993#sthash.8i6E3BGr.dpuf


I’m not very clever with spreadsheets. Never have been. Never will. My consolation, though, is that some people who use them 24/7 may not be either. A study by Australian researchers in the journal Genome Biology found that 20% of genomic papers contain errors because of a simple conversion error in the popular program Microsoft Excel. You see, if the gene Septin 2 is entered, as it usually is, as SEPT2, Excel automatically converts it to a date, 2-Sept. This is an issue that has been known since 2004, but it keeps increasing.
This raises some questions about the usefulness of the reviewing and editorial process at major journals if they are failing to pick up errors like this. And although this is a relatively minor glitch, it also shows once again that science is not infallible, even if it is backed up by sophisticated statistical analysis and acres of figures. Garbage in, garbage out.
By the way, our deputy editor, Xavier Symons, a post-graduate student in bioethics in Melbourne, has just had an article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics on the thorny topic of conscientious objection. Congratulations, Xav!  

Michael Cook

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