This research project will explore the theological and ethical implications of a cutting-edge technology that will take us beyond human cloning, namely human printing. Of course, human printing builds on other reproductive technologies, and is, at this stage closely related to reproductive cloning. Printing also arises out of a multidisciplinary approach that forms the bedrock of tissue engineering. Areas of relevance include rapid prototyping, smart polymers and the principles of cell adhesion.
Part 1 is a brief review of the literature outlining the proposed methods of human printing and a review of the literature of the related issues of human cloning, stem cell research, xenotransplantation and the ethics of (bio) technology.
Part 2 of the project will report on field research conducted in a local church context aimed at identifying the congregational level of knowledge and understanding of the issues, their ethical stance on the issues in question, and the underlying biblical and theological principles/assumptions upon which they base their particular views. This will be compared to the issues arising out of the literature.
Part 3 will attempt to integrate the findings from the previous sections in such a way as to be able to offer theological and ethical insights on the matter of human printing, as well as some general proposals for future pastoral ministry practice.