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Is a human embryo classified as an "organism"?

Human Anatomy, Physiology, and Medicine. Anything human!

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Is a human embryo classified as an "organism"?

Postby MaximRecoil » Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:20 am

It seems like a ridiculous question to me, with the obvious answer being "yes", but there is actually a debate going on about it on a newsgroup. I posted many scholarly references where the human embryo was referred to as an "organism", such as this one from the Human Development and Anatomy Center:
"In a continuous sequence of structural alterations such as occurs in
the development of an embryo, any subdivision into stages must
necessarily be arbitrary, and the number of possible stages becomes
infinite. ... one must not fail to take into consideration the
individual parts of the organism, since these do not develop at
an equal rate... For that reason no attempt will be made, to determine
the greatest definable number of stages of the embryo. Instead the
author concludes that it will be more useful to segregate embryos into
groups or periods that represent levels in their structural
organization as a whole"

Emphasis mine


And also I found this from a Delaware Senate Bill:
STATE OF DELAWARE HUMAN CLONING "BAN":
SPONSOR: Sen. Venables; Sen Bunting; Rep. Ewing

DELAWARESTATE SENATE

142nd GENERAL ASSEMBLY

SENATE BILL NO. 55

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO A CLONING
PROHIBITION AND RESEARCH PROTECTIONS ACT

(a) "create a human being": The Bill should make it clear that the
immediate product of both sexual (fertilization) and asexual (cloning)
human reproduction is a single-cell organism, a zygote, a human
being, who then proceeds to grow and develop him/herself as known
scientifically for over a hundred years and as documented for many
decades in the Carnegie Stages of Early Human Development. These
objective scientific facts are now vastly documented in science,
especially in human embryology and human molecular genetics text
books and by the International Nomina Embryologica Committee.

Emphasis mine


I found many other references as well, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter. Any further references that you may know of would be appreciated.
MaximRecoil
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