EMBRYOLOGY RESEARCH (continued..)
Embryonic research 1990 to the present day
Embryonic research post-1990 is now are backing up the pro-life argument. (A lot of this
knowledge has arisen from study of mouse and sheep embryos, though ironically also from work on human embryos
after the passing of the HFE Act in 1990). It has now been discovered that embryonic cells are not as
"totipotent" (power to become anything) as once thought. The cells in the morula relate to one another,
hence differente between themselves. The position of a specific cell in the morula determines its subsequent
development into an organ of the body.
For example, the position of an embryonic cell within the egg membrane is determined by the
position of the sperm at entry. The axis of the future backbone is determined at this time, within 1-3 minutes
Even at the 2-cell stage, the evidence points to one cell having the potential for producing
the placenta, amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord. The other cell will become the embryo and foetus. So there is
a closed differentiating system and it is human.
This differentiating closed human system is a human individual at an early stage in its
development. It is a human individual with potential. It is one continuum with the later rational human adult.
The next logical step is to propose that, as the later rational human adult is a "person",
so too is the embryo and the later foetus. Human persons have rights, so too has the human embryo and the
foetus. There is a right to life.
Father Dylan pointed out that, if despite the supporting scientific evidence, there is still
residual doubt in one's mind over the status of the human embryo, then we must go for the moral certainty principle;
we cannot risk murder. We must play safe and support the human embryo.
The use of stem cells in medicine for therapeutic cures
Embryonic Stem Cells
In spite of the promises made by the proponents for the use of embryonic stem cells, that
research globally has not provided any cures.
Specifically, there have been uncontrollable tumours produced in the bodies of unfortunate
people who were chosen for such treatments. Also the body's immune system can reject them - hence the interest
Adult Stem Cells
The use of "Adult" Stem Cells (non-embryonic) from bone marrow, fatty tissue and amniotic fluid
had produced positive results for:
- Heart disease
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sickle cell
- Leukaemia treatments in children
The use of these stem cells does not pose ethical problems.
Father Dylan pointed out that in the ethical system of the Catholic Church, the end does not justify
the means. Any possible benefits cannot justify our supporting evil means. In this case we cannot support the experimentation
and destruction of human embryos, in the hope that future cures for human illness will result.
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