While the Planned Parenthood harvesting scandal rumbles on, fewer news items have actually focused on what those who procure aborted fetal tissue and organs are actually doing with it.
Pro life website LifeNews.com sheds some light on this today with a piece that reveals the brains of aborted babies are being transplanted into mice.
The article notes that a recent commentary piece in The Scientist, entitled “When Does a Smart Mouse Become Human?” highlights how researchers at the University of Rochester injected lab mice with glial cells from human fetuses, and discusses the ethical issue of transplanting human cells into animals.
The article states:
Glial cells are cells that support neurons in the nervous systems. The mice incorporated these glial cells into their brain and “outperformed normal mice almost fourfold in a variety of cognition tests.”The researchers stressed that the mice still had mouse brains, saying “This does not provide the animals with additional capabilities that could in any way be ascribed or perceived as specifically human. Rather, the human cells are simply improving the efficiency of the mouse’s own neural networks. It’s still a mouse.”
The article then goes on to reveal that the Glial cells were obtained from second trimester abortions (18–22 weeks), citing a paper in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The paper states:
The forebrain ventricular/subventricular zones were dissected from the brain, the samples chilled on ice, minced and dissociated using papain/DNase, as described previously (Roy et al., 1999, 2000), always within 3 h of extraction. The dissociates were maintained overnight in minimal media of DMEM/F12/N1 with 10 ng/ml bFGF. Samples were deidentified and obtained with the approval of the University of Rochester Research Subjects Review Board.
While attempting to create super mice in a lab might be appealing to some, and could definitely have merit in that it may shed further light on human neurological disorders, Life News’ Rebecca Taylor makes a good point, noting that “I can confidently say that the mice did not need the human brain tissue as much as the baby did.”
Taylor notes that glial cells for the research could have been sourced ethically from natural miscarriages.