Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 573–578 | Cite as

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

  • David ShawEmail author
  • Wybo Dondorp
  • Guido de Wert
Scientific Contribution


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.


Primates Research Xenotransplantation Personalized organs IPS cells Chimeras Hybrids Regenerative medicine Stem cells 


Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health, Ethics and SocietyMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute for Biomedical EthicsUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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