A new medical breakthrough has been established, according to the recent reports: researchers at Ohio University have created the first fetus brain model in lab. According to their official declaration, the artificially created brain is capable of performing all the tasks that a five-week-old fetus’ brain would, prompting many questions in relation to the ethics of this discovery.
The human brain has always been the interest of medical experts. Unfortunately, some researchers like Nazi doctor Josef Mengele have gone beyond any ethical limit and conducted terrifying experiments both on human and animal respondents. This explains why Prof. Rene Anand’s recent lab-grown fetus brain has received both positive and negative criticism.
The biological chemistry professor at the University of Ohio has withdrawn skin cells from his respondents which were later on used to create stem cells. If kept under correct conditions, the latter can be turned into pretty much any human organ much like in the cloning process. Anand, however, chose to use these stem cells to develop a fully functional human brain.
His work has started to pay off as the jar brain has all the abilities and the characteristics of a five-week-old infant brain. According to Anand it even has an eye and the spinal cord has just started to be noticeable. All these achievements have determined Anand to push his research further; next time, he plans to grow a 20-week-old brain, but his new objective has given people cold chills down their spines.
There have been many ethical debates in relation to the human status of the fetus, great part of the discussions being fueled by abortion laws. Researchers fear Anand’s lab brain could develop its own consciousness, that it may become aware of its existence without being able to complain about the experiments conducted therein.
According to the law, the fetus is considered a living person at 24 weeks when it begins to develop its own consciousness; hence, the 24-week limit of abortion rules. The current legislation qualifies abortions that are made at a later date as instances of murder precisely because the fetus has its own consciousness.
This legal background is determining many medical experts to ask questions about the ethics of Anand’s recent experiment. They fear the experiment could become immoral as a result of a clear legislation determining the status of the lab grown brain, which could be self-aware at a certain point, but nobody would be able to determine that.
In a slippery slope attempt to alarm authorities, some scientists have even suggested that the lab grown brain could be added on microchips and inserted in artificial intelligence devices. The latter could turn against humanity due to their newly acquired capabilities.
Anand on the other hand, has reassured his critics that he will do everything in his power to prevent medical abuses through his recent finding. He is keeping his research undisclosed until he will be able to patent it.
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