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Science  20 Jul 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6399, pp. 233-235
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat9482

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  • RE: Will Scientists find ethical guidance? And where? On Sestan’s, Logothetis’ and Goodall’s cases.
    • Deanna Anderlini, PhD student, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

    Does a universal code of ethics exist? And if so, who has got the honor and the burden to implement that code? The public arena through a referendum? Politicians?

    Scientists, with the help of great technological advances, have been able to run experiments with mind boggling results.

    In March this year, researchers of the Yale University presented details of their study at a brain science ethics meeting held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Prof. Sestan and his team have restored circulation to the brains of decapitated pigs and kept the organs alive for several hours. The aim of the study was to develop a new way of studying intact human brains in the lab. Prof. Sestan was among the first to raise potential ethical concerns. Although there was no evidence of animals being aware, still there was a doubt that some degree of consciousness might still linger. The question at the core of the issue is: does brain tissue created in the lab have the same rights as a human being? Would the presence, or absence of conscious experience define the right for the brain tissue to be protected? 15 leading US neuroscientists called for clear regulation to guide them in their work (Farahany et al., 2018). The request was backed by Prof. Blackmore of the University of London who demanded for a public debate on the issue.

    Two months later, news from the Max Planck Institute broke: scientists claimed that the Institute didn’t defend its r...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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