Should consent be required for using people's cells?

Author: Analgesic.Spectre ,

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    As technology continues to progress, human ethics are bombarded with new questions. One of those questions involves the usage of people's cells.

    Without question, using the cells of a person, whilst the cells are still attached, isn't ethical, barring explicit consent. However, if the cells are to be removed, should there be consent? It was a question raised at a workshop for the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center's Department of Bioethics. 

    Currently, researchers are allowed to use people's cells without their permission, so long as the personal identifiers are removed (i.e. anonymized).

    Grady et al. (cited in the link below) outlined 5 reasons why consent for usage of cells might be of interest:

    (1) It respects donors

    (2) It allows donors to have control over whether their samples are used for research purposes

    (3) It allows donors to decide whether the risks and burdens of research are acceptable to them

    (4) It allows donors to decide whether they want to contribute to the goals of the research as opposed to only using their samples for particular areas of interest

    (5) It promotes transparency and public trust.

    Furthermore, and this is a question that wasn't raised in the internet article, is what happens if a human clone is made, and then cells are taken from that human clone. Are the cells the property of the human clone? A similar question: what if robotic wires were taken from a human cyborg (assuming they exist in the future). Would that require consent?

    Naturally, science isn't bound by ethical laws. It will be interesting to see how humans of the future handle these questions, or perhaps ignore these questions.