April 20, 2024

Exporting ethics

The ever-volatile issue of stem cell research is back on the boil. Earlier this week a Japanese researcher announced that he would be creating human-mouse chimeras — and bringing them to term. This is controversial stuff, but at least the researcher waited until he had obtained a thumbs-up from Japanese authorities. 

Not to be outdone, a Spanish researcher announced soon afterwards this week that she and her colleagues in Spain and the United States are going to create human-monkey chimeras.

Monkeys? Isn't this even more controversial? Yes, of course it is, she told the media. But it's OK: we're doing it in China where ethical standards are lower. 

How do you classify that sort of attitude toward ethics? Arrogant? Undemocratic? Secretive? Publicity-hungry? Immoral? Take your pick. 

Michael Cook
Problematic stem cell research is being done in China to avoid ethical scrutiny