The process described this week -- called altered nuclear transfer -- develops living tissue with the potential to create skin, bone, nerves and muscle. But from the start, it is unable to create a fetus, Hurlbut said. So no potential fetus is ever destroyed or altered.
From the moment of conception, an embryo begins organizing and repairing itself and is a living organism, Hurlbut said. But the tissue scientists say they can construct is not a living organism because, although it can do some dividing and organizing, it lacks the material required to develop into a fetus, he said.
That puts it in the same category as a benign ovarian tumor called a teratoma, he said. This type of tumor has cells that divide, and it can even grow hair, fingernails and teeth, Hurlbut said. But it is simply a mass of unorganized cells, and no one would argue that it shouldn't be removed because it's living tissue, he said.
Hurlbut hopes Americans will understand altered nuclear transfer is the development of living tissue, not the manipulation of a living organism.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
William Hurlbut and Altered Nuclear Transfer
William Hurlbut was in Grand Rapids on Monday to deliver the DeVos Medical Ethics lecture. He also discussed altered nuclear transfer.