A Preliminary Study Exploring Japanese Public Attitudes Toward the Creation and Utilization of Human-Animal Chimeras: a New Perspective on Animals Containing "Human Material"

Asian Bioethics Review 9 (3):211-228 (2017)
Abstract
Ongoing research on making “human-animal chimeras” or “animals containing human material” to solve the shortage of organs available for transplantation has raised many ethical issues regarding the creation and utilization of such constructs, including cultural views regarding the status of those creations. A pilot study was conducted to explore Japanese public attitudes toward human-animal chimeras or ACHM. The February 2012 study consisted of focus group interviews with citizens from the Greater Tokyo Area, aged between 20 and 54. The 24 participants were divided into four groups. Transcripts of the interviews were analyzed and participants’ attitudes categorized. Five categories of participant attitudes were identified: resistance to the unnatural, concerns about animal welfare, concerns about controlling human-animal chimeras, concerns about the possible birth of intermediate entities, and resistance to creating and utilizing animals containing my material or my child’s material. Our FGI results showed a broader and greater variety of public concerns than those reported in previous studies. While researchers have tried to establish new methods to avoid creating intermediate entities, our participants expressed concerns about not only intermediate entities but also animals containing their own material or their child’s material. Based upon their responses in the interviews, we are introducing a new ethical concern: “animals containing my material/my child’s material.”
Keywords Human-animal chimeras   ACHM   Japanese public attitudes   Focus group interviews   Qualitative research
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DOI 10.1007/s41649-017-0020-1
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