Yesterday, for the first time ever, I saw a human brain close-up (and poked a spinal cord). It was fun, though I'm still wondering what the yellow deposits on bits of the spinal cord were...does anyone know? (The TA said it wasn't fat. Fat has a characteristic appearance.)

Anyway, I'm completely sure that the humans who once had these brains inside their skulls volunteered to donate their organs for the purposes of science.

What about the animals? I'm sure thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of frogs, cats, pigs, etc. are sacrificed each year to aid biology students.

I, for one, don't think it's a problem. The entire body of the animal is being looked at. All of its organs are actually serving a purpose, and just because that purpose is mental fodder rather than meat doesn't mean it's any less worthy. Compare this to cows and other food animals, who are slaughtered for a few choice cuts--that's why I approve of gelatin: what other use will be found for an animal's hooves and horns, anyway?

As for research-based killing, if it's going to save lives and lead to a complete understanding of biology that wouldn't be gained otherwise, why are you complaining? I've never seen anyone rational say that treatment for diseases is bad. In fact, millions of dollars go into funding research for things like cancer and diabetes--how do you expect results to be obtained if you want to protect every cute, fuzzy, and massively inbred animal that ever existed?

I do not, however, approve of the right to copyright naturally occurring genomes (a precedent established with the Harvard mouse in 1994 [??]). It's just...creepy. DNA isn't something that can be synthesized. Yes, it can be put together in different ways--but since when did completing a puzzle make one the owner of the image? Since when was a collage automatically defined as original work?

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