A potentially non-controversial process for developing morulas and blastocysts for research is the activation of oocytes without use of sperm or transfer of somatic cell nuclei. Such activation can be achieved through electrostimulation or chemicals in a process called parthenogenesis. The resulting cleaving eggs, called parthenotes, may develop much like normal embryos at least to the blastocyst stage. Although no human parthenotes have progressed this far, in February 2002 scientists announced that they had developed monkey parthenote blastocysts and established stable stem cell lines from them (Cibelli, et al.).

Scientists believe "there is a profound and intrinsic biological barrier that prevents mammalian parthenotes from developing to advanced fetal stages" (Human Embryo Research Panel, p. 20). On this assumption, parthenogenic morulas or blastocysts lack the intrinsic potential to become human beings. If this potential is a defining aspect of the human embryo and the basis for its special moral status, then human parthenotes are not human embryos and should not arouse the same sorts of moral concerns. Thus they may offer an attractive alternative for research.

Anxiety and Depression 101

Anxiety and Depression 101

Everything you ever wanted to know about. We have been discussing depression and anxiety and how different information that is out on the market only seems to target one particular cure for these two common conditions that seem to walk hand in hand.

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