Journal article

Moral uncertainty and the farming of human-pig chimeras

Julian Koplin, Dominic Wilkinson

Journal of Medical Ethics | BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP | Published : 2019


It may soon be possible to generate human organs inside of human-pig chimeras via a process called interspecies blastocyst complementation. This paper discusses what arguably the central ethical concern is raised by this potential source of transplantable organs: that farming human-pig chimeras for their organs risks perpetrating a serious moral wrong because the moral status of human-pig chimeras is uncertain, and potentially significant. Those who raise this concern usually take it to be unique to the creation of chimeric animals with 'humanised' brains. In this paper, we show how that the same style of argument can be used to critique current uses of non-chimeric pigs in agriculture. This..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Wellcome trust

Funding Acknowledgements

JK and DW, through their involvement with the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, received support from the Victorian State Government through the Operational Infrastructure Support (OIS) Program. DW was supported for this work by a grant from the Wellcome trust (WT106587/Z/14/Z.) DW would also like to acknowledge the generous support of the Russell and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Fund; part of this work was undertaken while he was a Miegunyah distinguished visiting research fellow at the University of Melbourne.