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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
SJR: 0.332 SNIP: 0.491 CiteScore™: 0.89

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.v18.i1.530
55 pages

Abstract of "The Law(s) of Unexpected Consequences and the Ethics of Cultured Meat"

M. A. Benjaminson
Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Touro College School of Health Sciences, NSR-Touro Applied Bioscience Research Consortium, 1700 Union Blvd, Bay Shore, NY 11706
J. A. Gilchriest
Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Touro College School of Health Sciences, NSR-Touro Applied Bioscience Research Consortium, 1700 Union Blvd, Bay Shore, NY 11706
M. B. Madigan
Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Touro College School of Health Sciences, NSR-Touro Applied Bioscience Research Consortium, 1700 Union Blvd, Bay Shore, NY 11706

ABSTRACT

We are using tissue engineering principles and techniques to continue the development of a muscle protein production system designed to supply nutritional animal protein to the human consumer, and are exploring the feasibility of providing a continuous supply of edible muscle protein to help sustain prolonged space travel. As our research has moved forward, the results we have gathered have hinted of other possibilities in areas such as wound healing, tissue grafting, manipulation of adult stem cells, assembly of tissue constructs, and tissue implantation. Thus, the ethical issues involved in this work in many instances mirror the ones that arise in tissue engineering activities dedicated to the enhancement of human medicine. The magnitude of media coverage after the publication of our article on what was dubbed “cultured meat” was unexpected. Reporters have continued to contact us, and funded research on techniques of providing edible muscle protein commercially has begun in other countries around the world. We, with internal funding, continue our investigations on the mechanisms of muscle growth and its control. Our work has received a great deal of criticism, with some of it scientific, some of it positive, some of it negative, but most of it emotional. Primary among the ethical issues raised for us by public comments is the question of the source of the muscle protein. We are currently working with piscean skeletal muscle tissue whose source is live fish. Emotional responses have been particularly heated with respect to our work's broad impact on the contemporary scene and its role onward into the future. This is especially interesting in light of the fact that our sights were initially were set on a rather narrow target, namely, prolonged space travel. The continued interest of the media, animal rights groups, those critics worried about “Frankenfood,” and so on has led us to formulate the first law of unexpected consequences. First Law: If you are not prepared to deal with unexpected consequences, do not do research.