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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

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Tuesday, December 30, 2003

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Here is a note regarding the oft-raised notion that the potential for twinning is reason to say there is no individual human being in the earlier stages of development following fertilization, using the term ‘pre-embryo’ as if there is not yet a human embryo until the twinning potential is over.

The following exchange occurred during an on-line discussion of early human development. One person noted that because two individuals may emerge from the zona pellucida or emerge following the hatching from the zona pellucida, that doesn’t mean that at least one individual hasn’t been there all along and identity of a second individual emerges at a later point in time from first cell division of the zygote. A net-friend rephrased that notion as follows:

I think I see your point. If we thought one person (let's call him "Fred") might be in a box, we would not shoot at the box. If we find out there is not just one person in the box, but there are two persons in the box, (Fred and Francis), we would not decide it is therefore okay to shoot at the box. It's not the singleness of the person in the box that makes us hesitate to shoot, it's the human life/lives of whoever is in the box, which causes us to refrain from shooting.” [Freeper named ‘Syriacus’, at FreeRepublic.com]

The entire construction project—from zygote to implanted, protected embryo—takes place within fourteen days from fertilization, in healthy reproduction. [For the carpenter readers, even a whiz bang construction crew would be hard pressed to raise a new home ‘into the dry’ in fourteen days, starting with a tract of land and standing trees.] {From the manuscript at: http://www.goexcelglobal.com/We%20Need%20To%20Talk.pdf }





Sunday, December 28, 2003

Here is something that reveals an astonishing piece of knowledge regarding the embryo, knowledge that is so new, it has yet to make it into all the modern textbooks.

Doctor Jérôme Lejeune was a geneticists and pediatrician, world renowned for discovering the cause of Down’s Syndrome. On occasion, he testified in court trials as an expert witness. The following is from questioning done by an attorney during a 1991 trial in New Jersey, regarding efforts by Alexander Loce to restrain his girlfriend from aborting his child. We will skip through this testimony, to focus on specific notions.

Q: Dr. Lejeune, based upon the empirical data you presented, do you have a conclusion as to what exits at the moment of fertilization?

A: Well, at the moment of fertilization, what exists is a pure novelty. It has never occurred before. It's a new constitution of a new personally-devised constitution for this person.

Q: If you had to give it a name what would you call it?

A: I would call it a human because I know that the whole information is human. I can read it. I can see the dimensions and make up of the chromosomes.
I can be sure it is human. Now I would say it is a being because I know by its own information that it will develop itself. It just needs nurture and protection. That is all it needs. Then, being human, it is a human being.



But at the moment of fecundation, part of the DNA coming from father is underlined in the male way, and DNA coming from mother is underlined in the female way. And, therefore, the fantastic discovery was never expected ten years ago. Nobody predicted it—that, in fact, the father underlines instructions to make immediately the membranes inside which the embryo will develop itself, so to speak its space capsule; and to make the placenta which is the body by which it will take the nutrients from the vessels of mother.

That's underlined on the sperm, not on the egg. But on the egg what is underlined is all the tricks of the trade to make the spare pieces, which if they are put together will build an individual.

Now it is extraordinary because it was a moving observation for geneticists to see in this one millimeter and a half sphere of living being this separation of the tasks which we see in ordinary life. And the man in biology builds the membranes which is the shelter and the placenta which is a gathering food system. On the other hand it is up to the feminine genius to underline the way how to manufacture a baby. …
Now we come to an extraordinary observation that the only cell in all my life in which those two methylation systems from father and from mother were present together inside one cell was in the first cell which gave me life.

Because progressively at each division, this methylation is erased and replaced. And progressively cells learn by a cascade of reaction to specialize. So that one will make nails, another will make the brain, another will make the liver and another will make the bones and another will make the muscle.

...

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Available HERE in pdf format

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HERE in html

The latest non-fiction book links

Available HERE in pdf format

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HERE in html


Friday, December 26, 2003

There is a rather simple way to check whether a biomedical procedure is ethical.

Consider the following string of questions:

Is it permissible to purposely conceive a handicapped individual who will not be born (raised in a lab not a living host), or if born will be unlikely to survive?

Is it permissible to target purposely-handicapped individuals for harvesting of body parts (the stem cells of such an embryo are in fact that individual’s body parts)?

Is it permissible to conceive an individual then raise that individual in an artificial womb, in order to dissect him or her for useful tissues and organs used to treat other individuals?

Is it permissible to abort alive, unborn babies with the intention to harvest their useful body parts?

Is it permissible to harvest tissues from babies who were naturally miscarried, not purposely aborted, or from individuals dead due to unintended consequences, such as an accident or heart attack?

Applying two fundamental principles of ‘first, do no harm’ and ‘no one may own another individual’, the only question that may have a ‘yes’ answer is the last one. It is the only category for which helping flows from not intentionally harming another.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Men redundant? Now we don’t need women either The Observer (UK) | 02/10/2002 | Robin McKie



‘Doctors are developing artificial wombs in which embryos can grow outside a woman's body. The work has been hailed as a breakthrough in treating the childless.

Scientists have created prototypes made out of cells extracted from women's bodies. Embryos successfully attached themselves to the walls of these laboratory wombs and began to grow. However, experiments had to be terminated after a few days to comply with in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) regulations.

'We hope to create complete artificial wombs using these techniques in a few years,' said Dr Hung-Ching Liu of Cornell University's Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility. 'Women with damaged uteruses and wombs will be able to have babies for the first time.'

The pace of progress in the field has startled experts. Artificial wombs could end many women's childbirth problems - but they also raise major ethical headaches which will be debated at a major international conference titled 'The End of Natural Motherhood?' in Oklahoma next week.

'There are going to be real problems,' said organiser Dr Scott Gelfand, of Oklahoma State University. 'Some feminists even say artificial wombs mean men could eliminate women from the planet and still perpetuate our species. That's a bit alarmist. Nevertheless, this subject clearly raises strong feelings.'

Liu's work involves removing cells from the endometrium, the lining of the womb. 'We have learnt how to grow these cells in the laboratory using hormones and growth factors,' she said.

After this Liu and her colleagues grew layers of these cells on scaffolds of biodegradable material which had been modelled into shapes mirroring the interior of the uterus. The cells grew into tissue and the scaffold dissolved. Then nutrients and hormones such as oestrogen were added to the tissue.

'Finally, we took embryos left over from IVF programmes and put these into our laboratory engineered tissue. The embryos attached themselves to the walls of our prototype wombs and began to settle there.'

The experiments were halted after six days. However, Liu now plans to continue with this research and allow embryos to grow in the artificial wombs for 14 days, the maximum permitted by IVF legislation. 'We will then see if the embryos put down roots and veins into our artificial wombs' walls, and see if their cells differentiate into primitive organs and develop a primitive placenta.'

The immediate aim of this work is to help women whose damaged wombs prevent them from conceiving. An artificial womb would be made from their own endometrium cells, an embryo placed inside it, and allowed to settle and grow before the whole package is placed back in her body.

'The new womb would be made of the woman's own cells, so there would be no danger of organ rejection,' Liu added.

However, her research is currently limited by IVF legislation. 'The next stage will involve experiments with mice or dogs. If that works, we shall ask to take our work beyond the 14-day limit now imposed on such research.'

A different approach has been taken by Yoshinori Kuwabara at Juntendo University in Tokyo. His team has removed foetuses from goats and placed them in clear plastic tanks filled with amniotic fluid stabilised at body temperature. In this way, Kuwabara has kept goat foetuses alive and growing for up to 10 days by connecting their umbilical cords to machines that pump in nutrients and dispose of waste.

While Liu's work is aimed at helping those having difficulty conceiving, Kuwabara's is designed to help women who suffer miscarriages or very premature births. In this way Liu is extending the time an embryo can exist in a laboratory before being placed in a woman's body; Kuwabara is trying to give a foetus a safe home if expelled too early from its natural womb.

Crucially, both believe artificial wombs capable of sustaining a child for nine months will become reality in a few years.

'Essentially research is moving towards the same goal but from opposite directions,' UK fertility expert Dr Simon Fishel, of Park Hospital, Nottingham, said. 'Getting them to meet in the middle will not be easy, however. There are so many critical stages of pregnancy, and so many factors to get right. Nevertheless, this work is very exciting.'

It also has serious ethical implications, as Gelfand pointed out. 'For a start, there is the issue of abortion. A woman is usually allowed to have one on the grounds she wants to get rid of something alien inside her own body.

'At present, this means killing the foetus. But if artificial wombs are developed, the foetus could be placed in one, and the woman told she has to look after it once it has developed into a child.'

In addition, if combined with cloning technology, artificial wombs raise the prospect that gay couples could give 'birth' to their own children. 'This would no doubt horrify right-wingers, while the implications for abortion law might well please them,' he added.

Gelfand also warned that artificial wombs could have unexpected consequences for working women and health insurance. 'They would mean that women would no longer need maternity leave - which employers could become increasingly reluctant to give.

'It may also turn out that artificial wombs provide safer environments than natural wombs which can be invaded by drugs and alcohol from a mother's body. Health insurance companies could actually insist that women opt for the artificial way.

'Certainly, this is going to raise a lot of tricky problems.'

Friday, December 19, 2003

For those who would like a few illustrations of the concepts offered in the below linked manuscript regarding stem cells and cloning, here's a link to the image gallery at Human Genome Project:

http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/education/images.shtml
For those who would like a few illustrations of the concepts offered in the below linked manuscript regarding stem cells and cloning, here's a link to the image gallery at Human Genome Project:

http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/education/images.shtml

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Free Resource Offer regarding educational material on stem cells and cloning:


Much has been made in the media and on the Congressional Record of the so-called ‘promise’ of embryonic stem cells and cloning for therapeutic applications. Major media have reported this field of stories with a clear bias that dehumanizes the individual human embryo as ‘not yet a human being’ or ‘not yet human enough, not individuated enough at embryo age’. Ironically, ALL the experts started their individual human life as a single totipotent cell, called a zygote. Eliminate the zygotic age of the individual human life and the lifetime that is already started will be no more because it is from that first totipotent age of the individual that all stem cell cascades derive!


It is unsettling to realize that events and discoveries at this time in our nation’s history tend to separate We The People from the decision making processes, mainly because the average citizen hasn’t a clue just what ESCR and therapeutic cloning seek to do and with what these technologies deal. There are two bills developing in the United States Senate that address human cloning; one bill would ban all human cloning, while the other bill would ban human reproductive cloning yet make it legal to do human cloning for research purposes. But all human cloning is reproductive, at the start.


To understand the differences in cloning bills requires some basic understanding of the biological processes. The information is not so abstract that the average citizen cannot grasp it, if it’s presented in clear terms and facts are not hidden via technical flourishes.


Ask yourself, ‘If our Senators were debating whether to knowingly fund research into a doomsday bomb that if ignited would deplete all the oxygen on the planet, would We The People approve of that?’ Doubtful.


Human cloning holds dangerous potential for the human species—over time—yet average voting citizens have little or no idea what are the details of cloning, details of the different bills, and details of future impact upon our civilization. Why? … Because the facts have been kept in the abstract by scientists wanting to do the research and elected representatives in agreement with those scientists.


There is vast wealth to be gained by those who learn to harness the science, as long as the people do not object to the methodologies. But how can the people object if they don’t understand what it is that the scientists want to do? This author believes there are alternate means to these miracles of cell technology, means that do not cannibalize individual humans at their embryo age.


Gradual application of technologies not well understood by the voting populace leads down slippery slopes that arrive at horrific ends We The People would likely avoid, if we but understood the real destiny of the slippery slopes.


This nation need not take a slide along a new slippery slope that includes in vitro fertilization and embryonic stem cell harvesting, and foretells human cloning for body parts. But to avoid the slide, We The People must have basic facts with which to discuss the honest perils and with which to discern the half-truths and outright lies already sullying the national discussion.


Linked to this posting is a manuscript written for the lay reader, designed to explain embryonic stem cells, and cloning. We have tried to keep the words and concepts intelligible, using asides from experts, using word pictures that help to visualize that which is usually seen only through a microscope, and using simple interactive sketching exercises (many of the net sources cited have excellent illustrations the reader may access, also, such as http://www.accessexcellence.org/AB/GG/structure.html and also illustrations found at the Human Genome Project website of NIH).


In the manuscript, after we discuss the basics we briefly address the underlying moral issues regarding these biological manipulations. After that, We The People will have to make up our individual minds whether we want certain lines of research to proceed—with our blessing, or whether we will demand that our elected representatives ban certain lines of manipulation with the earliest manifestation of human individual lives.


The following links are provided by Freeper, Calpernia. The manuscript is offered free to anyone, but the author retains the copyright. Make printed copies for your Minister or Priest and Church elders. Spread the information around … and Talk, America, talk these issues over, before we are fully embarked upon cannibalism as enlightened medical technology!


http://www.goexcelglobal.com/We%20Need%20To%20Talk.pdf (Found Here)


or/


http://www.goexcelglobal.com/WeNeedToTalk/index.html (Found Here)

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