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New book explores moral dimension of human cell research
New book explores moral dimension of human cell research

.- A new volume written by global scholars in science and bioethics touches on the moral issues surrounding human cells being used for experimentation.

“The central question of this book is whether or not particular cell entities of human origin ought to be considered human beings,” said the Social Trends Institute, a Spain and U.S.-based ethics foundation that commissioned the work.

“The answer is crucial for making moral decisions for or against research and experimentation.”

Released in August, “Is This Cell a Human Being? Exploring the Status of Embryos, Stem Cells and Human-Animal Hybrids” (Springer, $139) is the result of a 2009 meeting of several experts from around the world who each wrote on the ethical considerations of human cell use. 

The papers were compiled and edited by physicist and philosopher Antoine Suarez, a researcher in bioethics with the Center for Quantum Philosophy in both Zurich and Geneva.

Among the topics discussed in the book are the biological and moral status of different cell entities, such as human stem cells, embryos and human-animal hybrid embryos. The volume also works towards establishing final criteria for what constitutes a human being.

“The topic is challenging in nature and of broad interest to all those concerned with current bioethical thought on embryonic human life and its implications for society,” the institute said.

The volume contains chapters from scholars such as Manfred Spieker, a professor in Catholic Theology at Osnabrück University, whose paper is titled “Does a Human Being Have a Right to Life? The Debate on Embryo Research in Germany as a Case Study.”

Other experts include Dr. Maureen L. Condic, an Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine, who wrote on “Preimplantation Stages of Human Development: The Biological and Moral Status of Early Embryos.”

Headquartered in Barcelona and New York, the Social Trends Institute is a non-profit research center that offers support to academics who address emerging social trends and their cultural effects.

The group focuses its research on areas such as the family and bioethics and regularly brings scholars together from around the world to share their work in an academic forum.


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