Using non-human primates to benefit humans: research and organ transplantation

Med Health Care Philos. 2014 Nov;17(4):573-8. doi: 10.1007/s11019-014-9565-x.


Emerging biotechnology may soon allow the creation of genetically human organs inside animals, with non-human primates (henceforth simply "primates") and pigs being the best candidate species. This prospect raises the question of whether creating organs in primates in order to then transplant them into humans would be more (or less) acceptable than using them for research. In this paper, we examine the validity of the purported moral distinction between primates and other animals, and analyze the ethical acceptability of using primates to create organs for human use.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Experimentation / ethics*
  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • Genetic Engineering / ethics
  • Genetic Engineering / methods
  • Humans
  • Organ Transplantation* / ethics
  • Organ Transplantation* / methods
  • Primates* / surgery
  • Swine / surgery
  • Transplantation, Heterologous* / ethics
  • Transplantation, Heterologous* / methods