Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Synthetic skin from baby foreskins to replace animal testing?

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“Should I circumcise my newborn son?” → “No.”

Finally, researchers have found a valid (so to speak) reason for male circumcision: The Fraunhofer Institute in Germany is growing synthetic skin using cells from infant foreskins (<pause for double-take and/or bleaching of mind’s eye>) in the hopes of finding a replacement for animal testing. The Local reports:

A research organization is growing human skin in the hope of using it to trial cosmetics and medicines, reducing the need for animal testing. The synthetic skin is made using cells from infant foreskins.

The idea of a "skin factory" may sound sinister, but that is exactly what scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart have created. Their so-called Hautfabrik grows tiny swatches of skin - not for skin grafts, but for testing consumer products.

The renowned institute is presenting their ground-breaking invention as an affordable and sustainable alternative to animal testing, which many consider unnecessarily cruel.

The article then goes into some detail about the process, but I’m sure most of you are now either A) debating the morality of animal testing, B) debating the idea of infant circumcision, or C) baby foreskins eeek!, so I’ll spare us all the pain of excerpting it at length.

At any rate, who knew that with all those bullshit claims about health benefits and appeals to “religious freedom”, it’s science that would end up offering the best incentive for male infant circumcision? (Not enough to actually make the practice any less wrong and repellent, mind you. The concept is good; they just need to use foreskins from adults who chose circumcision knowingly and willingly, and not children who had it imposed upon them.)

(via Joe. My. God.)