El negocio de los cuerpos

La investigación médica actual suena cada vez más como si fuera un negocio. Las secuencias genéticas se patentan; la sangre del cordón es una propiedad muy valiosa. Los genetistas hablan de “prospección“ genética. Los tejidos corporales se „extraen“, se „cosechan“ y se „depositan en bancos“.

Este lenguaje refleja la creciente capacidad para transformar los tejidos humanos en material de investigación y en productos clínicos. La sangre puede servir como base para inmortalizar cepas celulares en estudios biológicos y en el desarrollo de productos farmacéuticos. Los prepucios de los bebés circuncidados se utilizan para generar piel artificial. Los tejidos extraídos en biopsias se usan para fabricar material genético terapéutico. Se utilizan tejidos, órganos y células humanas en lugar de tejidos animales para probar fármacos y cosméticos porque los de origen animal son caros y su uso genera protestas.

Los tejidos humanos también tienen valor más allá de la medicina. La placenta se usa para shampoos. Kiotech, una empresa británica de biotecnología, cosecha sudor humano para extraer feromonas para un producto llamado “Xcite”, unas toallitas saturadas con una hormona sexual que “aumenta el aroma sexual de quien las usa”. Kary Mullins, una genetista ganadora del Premio Nóbel, fundó una compañía llamada “Star Gene”, para vender joyas que contienen DNA clonado de estrellas del rock. Aún más rara es “GeneLink”, que vende equipos para ayudar a las funerarias a extraer DNA de los muertos.

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