Ectogenesis


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ectogenesis

[‚ek·tō′jen·ə·səs]
(embryology)
Development of an embryo or of embryonic tissue outside the body in an artificial environment.

Ectogenesis

 

a trend in the theory of evolution according to which biological evolution is the result of environmental conditions, which bring about changes in organisms (the organisms themselves are only the passive material formed by these conditions). Adherents of ectogenesis argue that the environment, acting either directly or through the use or disuse of organs, causes adaptive changes that are later transmitted by heredity.

Ectogenesis is the opposite of autogenesis, which explains the evolution of organisms by the action of internal factors alone, for example, adaptive mutations or absolute expediency as the primary and immanent property of life. Neither ectogenesis nor autogenesis can account for all the observed phenomena of evolution, heredity, and variability. These mechanistic views are refuted by Darwinism, which affirms the dialectical unity of the external and internal factors of evolution. The British philosopher H. Spencer, the founder of mechano-Lamarckism, presented the most coherent exposition of the ideas of ectogenesis (seeNEO-LAMARCKISM).

A. S. SEVERTSOV

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35) Others have gone so far as to posit that ectogenesis would be safer for the fetus as a general matter, regardless of the mother's condition.
38) In the context of ectogenesis, perhaps the most important critique is of the arrogance of both the medical and legal establishments about what they think they know.
Even if ectogenesis is not preferable to natural gestation, it might be good enough to serve as an alternative to abortion.
Since at least the 1920s, scientists have claimed that the technological capacity for ectogenesis is imminent, (45) but the years come and go and no artificial wombs are built.
Kuwabara's research approached ectogenesis from the direction of fetal survival, trying to push back the point of viability for premature babies.
In that literature, discussions of the technological prospects for ectogenesis tend to focus on the life support barriers that are familiar from neonatal care.
In the end, the best argument for the likelihood of ectogenesis is generalized faith in scientific progress and capacity: science has accomplished many things that would have been thought impossible before they were done; why should this be any different?
The scientific, legal, and ethical speculations about ectogenesis reflect the same dichotomies and biases that have long plagued reproductive science.
Even if ectogenesis is unlikely to be possible in the near or even the foreseeable future, legal analysis is already anticipating the possibility and is affected by that anticipation.
Proposals to substitute forced ectogenesis for abortion ignore what appears to be an increasingly strong social consensus about the status of embryos and pre-embryos in laboratories.
In Julian's racist story, it is not ectogenesis that Hascome uses to manipulate the population but a eugenics program involved in breeding giants, dwarves, and obese virgins, based on the tissue-culture techniques popularized by the eugenicist surgeon and biologist Alexis Carrel.
22) Such a mythology, combined with ectogenesis, would lead to the marriage of the assembly line and reproductive technology.