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Headless 'Organ Bank' Bodies Now Possible

Indian scientist P. B. Desai suggested in a speech last weekthat it should be possible to remove genes from embyros thatcould be used to create harvestable organs for adults inneed of organ transplants.

The organs would be grown in "bodies," that would mimic thematuring effect of a normal human body, but would lack abrain or head. These bodies would have the capacity to keeporgans functioning, but would have no thought processes.

Down the road, it is believed that stem cells removed fromadults will be used to create organs for the donor that willbe readily accepted by the donor body because they are, ineffect, from the same person.

The bizarre idea of laboratories growing headless bodies foruse in organ transplants is one of the ethical issues thatmodern science is just now in the process of requiring us toface.

If, for example, the organs are grown from an adult's stemcells rather than being removed from an embryo, is it stillwrong to create a human body that has no brain and no mind,for use in prolonging the life of the person who is the stemcell donor?

These are questions that remain to be addressed by scienceand religion. Dr. Desai warned that this research is reallyabout the quest for immortality, and could lead to the"manufacture" of bodies for commercial reasons.

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