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Abstract 摘要

Despite stem cell researchers receiving the 2012 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent, stem cell research is still controversial in bio-medical debates. Stem cells have undoubted medical potential in areas such as repairing aging and injured tissues and organs, but stem-cell research involves the creation, use, and destruction of human embryos. That leads to the question of whether embryonic stem cells have moral status and what it means to be human.

This essay explores how new stem cell technology will drastically change the way we define humans and human relationships. We will need to ask what a human being is, what personhood is, what marriage is, and what reproduction is. At the same time, regenerative medicine that depends on the availability of appropriate cells and cell lines gives rise to questions of who “owns” human material and its derived products, and the “rights” of cell donors. The commercial benefits from regenerative medicine will also create black markets such that in China. The essay concludes that stem cell research must be controlled and limited, and its ethical impacts and implications must be taken seriously.

很多人曾經預言幹細胞基礎研究是諾貝爾獎的應允之地,但沒想到這賜福來的如此之快。從另一個側面,這個獎項也說明了與幹細胞研究息息相關的各大生命醫學領域的科學家對於這一醫學或生物學發現是多麼的飢渴。本文著重探討“誘導多功能幹細胞”(iPSCs)研究所引發的生命技術在倫理學上的挑戰。傳統形而上學和宗教道德觀對人性的定義、對人格、家庭、人倫關係等等問題的看法,都會由於當前的幹細胞研究而產生前所未有的變化。面對全新的生命技術,我們人類是否準備好了這個挑戰呢?

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