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Synthetic Skin Could Replace Animal Subjects'

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the so-creamy-and-supple dept.

Medicine 68

fangmcgee writes "Synthetic skins are now good enough to mimic animal skins in lab tests, according to research that will appear in the June 5 issue of the Journal of Applied Polymer Science. Bharat Bhushan, a professor at Ohio State University and Wei Tang, an engineer at China University of Mining and Technology used atomic force microscopes to observe the responses of pseudo and rat skins to a generic skin cream. The result? Even at a scale of 100 nanometers — or one-thousandth the width of a human hair — all the samples reacted in a similar fashion."

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Okay, but... (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904034)

...when will they have synthetic leather shoes?

One day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904112)

One day, science will make me more like an animal. :3

Re:One day... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904140)

Get out you fucking furry faggot. You dipshits ruin everything you touch.

Science will one day make the the little girl though, I just know it!

Re:One day... (1)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904236)

Science will one day make the the little girl though, I just know it!

Good luck brother, good luck.

Re:Okay, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906208)

I'm probably just being dense or missing a joke, but those already exist. Good ones, too. I own a pair. Finding synthetic dress shoes is much easier than finding synthetic leather casual shoes, though. I'm limited to wearing canvas and those mesh-looking athletic shoes. Canvas is cool in the summer and all, but I there were more common vegan shoe options for the winter.

Re:Okay, but... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35908996)

If they do make these, they should patent them. If only someone had a catchy name for these patented leather shoes.

Re:Okay, but... (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35913434)

It may come as a surprise to you, but there are quite good synthetic leather substitutes on the market. Certainly the better (i.e., not the cheapest) ones are better in terms of durability, flexibility, moisture and odour transmission (outwards, generally) than cheap-and-nasty leather.

If I still followed vegan principles (I still accept their logic ; I simply got ground down by the illegitimi), then I'd continue using them. The materials are perfectly good for town shoes, and I'd consider looking at them for 3-season mountain boots. (Plastic shell double boots replaced leather boots for serious 4-season work in my youth.)

The bottom end of the market was long ago left behind for poor quality materials, whether leather or non-leather.

Pork Rinds (3, Interesting)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904066)

How does the new skin taste after being fried in lard and sprinkled with salt and spices? Have they come up with synthetic beer yet?

Re:Pork Rinds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904962)

Pork rinds are not skin, they are caramelised left-over meat from fat bacon, after most of the lard is melted away.

On the positive side, with this final ingredient available we can now synthesise completely vegan bacon!

Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (2)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904080)

I'll even volunteer my own skin sample if we can get this party started! Why use animal skin when you can test several strains of real human skin, rather than approximate animal skin? There are few long term uses for manufactured animal skin, but thousands of commercial applications for human skin...

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904150)

I'll even volunteer my own skin sample if we can get this party started! Why use animal skin when you can test several strains of real human skin, rather than approximate animal skin? There are few long term uses for manufactured animal skin, but thousands of commercial applications for human skin...

fb [slashdot.org]

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (1)

bieber (998013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904164)

There are few long term uses for manufactured animal skin

You may not be aware of this, but humans actually use animal skin at a massive rate in clothing, footwear, sporting goods, etc. "Leather," I believe they call it...

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904218)

What a valid reason to be killing/skinning animals. It's not even about "survival" anymore. All of those things can be made with something else.

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904584)

Not really. The alternatives that are affordable generally have some pretty severe drawbacks, which is why they aren't used commonly. The ones that don't have the drawbacks are far more expensive. There's a reason we still use leather, and it's not just habit.

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906012)

Drawbacks being 30% lower durability at 80% lower cost, recyclability instead of biodegradability, and, oh, most important of all, lack of the PRESTIGE of "real leather". Oh, and artificially inflated product of hip "animal-friendly" materials that repels most customers in markets where leather is the king.

There are extremely few applications where synthetic substitutes would not be adequate. True they might be somewhat - moderately worse than natural leather, but completely sufficient for given purpose. It's only the popular wasteful consumer mentality - why get regular/standard/sufficient when for slightly more I can get "premium"/"super-sized"/"improved" - that keeps leather in market.

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (1)

flink (18449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906146)

We're killing all those cows for meat anyway. I'm a vegetarian, but I have no problem with leather as long as other people are going to be consuming animals for meat. It would be wasteful not to use the byproducts of animal agriculture for other things as much as we can.

If we as a society ever get to a point where we are not consuming enough meat to keep up with our leather demand, then of course I think it would be foolish not to use synthetics wherever possible though.

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#35912752)

Leather is a renewable resource that has a bonus of being incredibly durable for a century or more. Many Model A/Model T fords are still using their original leather clutches. Artificial leather isn't sustainable and in most cases the production of it creates toxic byproducts.

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904176)

As a synthetic human, I am very disturbed by your headline.

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906858)

I want more life....FUCKER!!

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (1)

danlock4 (1026420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35909610)

I'm sympathetic to your synthetic humanity, android.

Empathy I can't do, however. :)

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904232)

There has been a fair bit of work on producing human skin tissues, mostly because of the demand from burn care and similar. My understanding is that getting the full structure right is(unsurprisingly) proving to be tricky and quite complex; but that there has been some progress in producing simpler membranes that are of use in dressing burns and protecting them while they heal.

Long term, it sure would be nice to have something better than the rather horrid scarring that is the body's present healing mechanism. A pity that getting serious regeneration powers is probably a huge cancer risk...

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35913404)

There has been a fair bit of work on producing human skin tissues, mostly because of the demand from burn care and similar.

"similar" meaning the porn-robot industry?

Long term, it sure would be nice to have something better than the rather horrid scarring that is the body's present healing mechanism.

It is, however, better than being dead, which was the previous option (I cite a classmate and former colleague whose face got melted in a car crash.)

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905296)

'I'll even volunteer my own skin sample if we can get this party started! '

I too would like to offer a skin sample from a 'donor'. Sounds like this technique will save me lots of work, and there'll be no more problems training it to put the lotion in the basket.

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906122)

"There are few long term uses for manufactured animal skin, but thousands of commercial applications for human skin..."

Cue the Fleshlight jokes.

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (1)

giantism_strikes (1887188) | more than 3 years ago | (#35907616)

FDA requires non-clinical trials (animals) before moving onto clinical trials (humans).

Re:Why not just test on synthetic human skin? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35909008)

Spending all day in the lab having researchers rubbing skin cream on me all day long. How much do I have to pay them to participate?

Aww where is the fun in that? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904098)

Personally I favor testing on animals, you can tell if it hurts when they squirm... that way they know not to use it!

Really bad jokes aside, I think should just use those damn squirrels that got in my attic a few weeks ago. THOSE need to be tested rather intensively with electrodes and other squirrel pain devices.

Re:Aww where is the fun in that? (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904244)

Like BB guns?

Yep, that shot his eye out...better not sell this to little Johnny,,,

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904102)

...can't wait for my first synthetic rat skin coat.

Re:I for one... (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904682)

It's good news for all those people who couldn't give a rat's ass: soon there will be cheaper, synthetic rat's asses that they will be able to purchase and give.

testing on stakeholders (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904182)

I would have thought the obvious solution to the question of animal testing would be to require those who have a pecuniary interest in the business selling the cream to test the cream on themselves. They're humans with skin, aren't they? Deserving all the reward because they took all the risk, right?

(Bah, capitalism's been self-contradictory ever since the invention of the limited company. Wouldn't it be cool if the worker with an interest in X could set up a little fund for X and if he goes into huge debt there he can just write off that area of interest with no consequence and carry on?)

Re:testing on stakeholders (3, Insightful)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904466)

Heh, I always thought the obvious solution was to test on those most opposed to animal testing. Rather than protest, threaten, intimidate, cause destruction and generally be a major pest, they should volunteer themselves in place of the animals. After all, they care so much that they are willing to risk their lives, the skin trials would be nothing in comparison. It's a win/win situation!

The animals don't get tested on, the labs get real human skin to test on (rather than using animal skin as an approximation), and the protesters succeed in their goal, with the added benefit of aiding the rest of humanity.

Re:testing on stakeholders (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904562)

Rather than protest, threaten, intimidate, cause destruction and generally be a major pest

That sentence reads like, "Rather than smoke marijuana, have a healthy relationship with someone a year below AoC, evade taxes and brutally murder babies, prisoners should...."

they should volunteer themselves in place of the animals.

Well, I certainly put my body where my mouth is. I've taken part in human medical trials in academic settings where the only payment is the chance to have a nice chat with a keen medical researcher about his work while you're lying back in the chair with a drip in your arm.

I also choose soaps etc not tested on animals.

As for the aesthetics/cosmetics industry...

The animals don't get tested on, the labs get real human skin to test on (rather than using animal skin as an approximation), and the protesters succeed in their goal, with the added benefit of aiding the rest of humanity.

...the idea that someone producing anti-ageing and other reality denial creams is "aiding humanity" is laugable at best, and opposing the truth at worst. At least the firms involved have a sense of humour about it [youtube.com] .

Re:testing on stakeholders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35933738)

Rather than protest, threaten, intimidate, cause destruction and generally be a major pest

That sentence reads like, "Rather than smoke marijuana, have a healthy relationship with someone a year below AoC, evade taxes and brutally murder babies, prisoners should...."

I don't quite see what point you're trying to make, or how any of the above has any relevance to my post, except for trying to cram loads of inflammatory rhetoric in the densest space. Can't really retort :/

they should volunteer themselves in place of the animals.

Well, I certainly put my body where my mouth is. I've taken part in human medical trials in academic settings where the only payment is the chance to have a nice chat with a keen medical researcher about his work while you're lying back in the chair with a drip in your arm.

I also choose soaps etc not tested on animals.

Most excellent. Good on you! Nice to hear that there are those that are willing to do that. Many that I've met seem to be all keen on saving the fluffy bunnies until they actually have to do something other than protest and cause trouble. Fact is that the shareholders of the places that do animal testing don't really care about the animals. While those that do don't produce an alternative, but rather repeat "don't do it" mantra (yourself excepted, I am happy to hear that there are a few that do).

As for the aesthetics/cosmetics industry...

The animals don't get tested on, the labs get real human skin to test on (rather than using animal skin as an approximation), and the protesters succeed in their goal, with the added benefit of aiding the rest of humanity.

...the idea that someone producing anti-ageing and other reality denial creams is "aiding humanity" is laugable at best, and opposing the truth at worst. At least the firms involved have a sense of humour about it [youtube.com] .

Well, I wasn't talking about the cosmetic industry. I admit it is however a place where animal testing goes on. Much as I don't like the idea of testing on animals for things that are not critical there is not much I can do about it. As long as people are willing to purchase products that are tested on animals this will continue. Effort should be put into educating customers, as you won't be able to keep the suppliers away from a market. The drug "war" shows this best.

Once again, commended on your choice of buying "not tested on animals" products. I feel that if more effort was thrown at convincing others to do so the reduction in demand/profit would stop the testing on animals. IMO The protestors are attacking the problem from the wrong angle. As long as there is demand others will find a way to supply.

Other testing for real medical reasons does aid humanity, as we have grown our average life expectancy thanks to it. As there is not enough human volunteers to test on, animals are tested on instead. This news piece is a good first step. Hopefully one day we can just use synthetics, or perhaps using computational modelling, like we do with weapon design.

Re:testing on stakeholders (1)

fbartho (840012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904596)

Those most opposed are often complaining that the mortality/blindness/permanent disfiguration rate for makeup tests is fairly high. I can't imagine that we have enough human *volunteers* to test more than a few batches of early products before we run out of non-horribly disfigured mutants that would even count as slightly valid comparisons to non-damaged humans.

Re:testing on stakeholders (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35907120)

Corporations get their money from two general sources: equity contributions and loans. Both of those contributors lose their investment when the corporation goes insolvent. These people know the risk of what they are getting into. They also have the opportunity to estimate the scope of what they don't know.

The problem isn't the limited liability aspect of the corporation. Society needs that in order to build grand things (like railroads, canals, roads and other infrastructure). The problem is that people want to deregulate corporations. This is madness. We're seeing enormous executive overcompensation not because of market forces, but because of cosy relationships. We're also allowing the corporate insiders the ability to freely water down the stock of investors by giving stock options to other insiders. And then there's the ungodly and unnecessary tax that every business must pay to Wall Street.

Unregulated business is politics. It's worse than the worst government.

Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904184)

I'm not for animal abuse... this is great, spraying, rubbing stuff in animals/hides is sadistic. finally a invention that lessens the suffering in the world. Bravo!

Re:Awesome! (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904816)

I don't mind testing on synthetic animal skin for cheap cosmetics. But if I'm paying full price I want some suffering to have gone into perfecting the product. It's the suffering after all that makes foie gras pate and soft shell crap so delicious.

Now I'd rather they tested in those people in Gitmo but failing that a puppy or (better) a chimp will do.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906884)

Although I am all for looking for replacement for animal testing, I think we are not there yet. The reason is that a major part of the testing is looking for the odd allergic reaction, i.e. those that occur in 1 in 10/100/1000 subjects. Synthetic skin is a perfect clone of itself; you have no diversity and esp. no immunological diversity (if they even have something akin to an immunologic response, which I doubt). So this synthetic skin might be good for preliminary tests of new compounds (to see that they doesn't cause a reaction with the skin), but in the end you have to test it on real skin, whether animal or human.
OTOH, this skin could probably be good as a leather-replacement.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35909650)

rubbing stuff in animals/hides is sadistic

stuff is sadistic / much too realistic / hunting for a hide makes it opportunistic

Synthetic Skin Could Replace Animal Subjects' (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904194)

I know I'll be going senile any day now, but the title doesn't parse.

Re:Synthetic Skin Could Replace Animal Subjects' (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904930)

I know I'll be going senile any day now, but the title doesn't parse.

Yep, today's the day! You're now senile. The second skin is implied. Here, I'll help you out if you'll just let me just stand on your lawn for a moment...

Synthetic Skin Could Replace Animal Subjects'
Note the correct apostrophe usage indicating a plural possessive.

Synthetic Skin Could Replace Animal Subjects' [Skin]
Synthetic Skin Could Be Used Instead of the Skin of Animal Subjects.

It's not your fault, really; I'm sure all the years of being subjected to the Slashdot editors' incorrect usage of apostrophes has worn a rut in your parser path -- The headline's correct punctuation just seemed wrong because it is out of place.

The headline is somewhat misleading (4, Informative)

oskarfasth (187750) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904198)

The headline is somewhat misleading, it should say: "Synthetic Skin Could Replace Animal Subjects IN COSMETICS TESTING, SPECIFICALLY DERMATOLOGICAL PRODUCTS". For medical applications we are very far from such a breakthrough, owing mostly to the immense complexity of large biological systems, such as a living animal or human being. For the vast majority of animal testing, this might at best result in a reduced need for small pieces of skin tissue for basic research in laboratory settings, which is hardly the problem anyway.

As a vegetarian.. (3, Interesting)

wanax (46819) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904228)

.. who works with primates... I do so because I'm convinced there is no other way of collecting data that is important to our health and understanding about how our minds work. Food.. there are other sources.. but neuronal data, we're limited. I'm a big fan of the Reduce, Refine, and Replace idea, and if this is confirmed it's a big step, for 2 R's, and that's exciting.

Re:As a vegetarian.. (1)

dafing (753481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904858)

I hope you'll decide to be Vegan, and to extend your respect towards all other animals.

I found Professor Gary Franciones website useful when I first become Vegan, http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/ [abolitionistapproach.com] as well as the many podcast shows out there, heads up, Coexisting is my own show, http://bit.ly/veganpodcastinfo [bit.ly]

I can understand your belief that we *need* to "experiment" on other animals, I disagree with you very strongly, and I think we can both look forward to the day that nobody is hurt in the name of experimentation.

Re:As a vegetarian.. (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905158)

Would you kill someone in self defense?

Re:As a vegetarian.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905272)

Highly unlikely in New Zealand, but I would certainly defend myself and those I loved from a violent attack. I'm 1.95M tall and 23, I feel confident about myself.

There's quite the difference between a near 2 metre person defending himself from an attack by a 1.5+ metre person and our killing of 56 billion defenceless land animals each year.

Other sites I recommend are www.veganacious.com and www.nzveganpodcast.blogspot.com , both Barbara and Elizabeth have great podcasts.

It's after midnight here, logging in doesnt seem to work and I'm on my iPhone, goodnight from NZ my time, have a great day in yours :-)

Dafing

Re:As a vegetarian.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35907892)

I can accept that someone would avoid meat due to the taste.
I can accept that someone would avoid meat for dietary/health reasons.
I can accept that someone would avoid meat for certain moral reasons (treatment of the animals).
I might even be able to accept that someone would themselves avoid meat because they feel that "eating animals is wrong.

I cannot, however, accept the asking of others to avoid meat because "eating animals is wrong", and humbly ask that you either extend your belief to cover plants or admit to your hypocrisy.

Re:As a vegetarian.. (1)

Arterion (941661) | more than 3 years ago | (#35913314)

If we didn't eat animals, all those cows, chickens, and pigs would never be alive in the first place.

This is like saying we should stop sending food to starving nations because they'll just increase their birthrates, and just need more and more food. (Which is actually happening, btw.)

Re:As a vegetarian.. (1)

dafing (753481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35913406)

Hi Arterion,

Such a life you give others, to live as property, tagged as such, in a dark shed, filled with cockroaches, life amongst cages and incandescent bulbs, thanks! :-)

I dont believe we would use such an example in other situations, "yeah, we abused you every which way, we kill you at our whim, but cmon, damn, I mean, we made you live in the first place, you should be thanking us!"

RE other nations, not at all, I'd say we should encourage contraception to reduce out of control birthrates, as well as teaching methods of self sufficiency. Both of which are actually happening now.

Best wishes!

Re:As a vegetarian.. (1)

Arterion (941661) | more than 3 years ago | (#35913446)

Humans treat other humans this way, too. Those with lots of power and wealth inevitably inflict such a life onto other humans. Even an individual of meager means in rich country might have some poor girl barely affording her food, yet working long hours in a textile factory, or the like. But why? Because the sweatshop job is better than the alternatives.

Babies can die if they're not held. There is some biological imperative that requires a baby to be loved. Similarly, cows have a biological imperative to live, to reproduce, to eat, and so forth. If, any any point, cows didn't prefer their life to not living, they could, as human babies do, simply not live in their environments. It happens to a lot of "wild" animals that are brought into captivity. They have problems with reproduction, with behavior, with health, and generally do not so so well out of their natural environments.

I mean, when you think about sitting around all day under incandescent lights, eating yourself to obesity, killing yourself, essentially, so that someone else can have a nice meal, or make a buck... how is it so different from the plight of most of humanity? In fact, daresay that starvation is something a farm animal might never have to worry about.

You're making the assumption that Mother Nature would be kinder or more generous to these animals, but that's not necessarily true. There are predator animals and prey animals. We are apex predators. If humanity was wiped out in an instant, you'd still have big animals eating smaller animals all day, every day. I even suggest that slaughter is a more humane way to die than being eaten alive by a predator, no?

All that aside, eating plants is more efficient, but as omnivores, our nutritional needs are better satisfied by eating some amount of meat. Sure, you can take measures to eat no meat, and I certainly have no problem with anyone doing that, I just really don't understand it.

Re:As a vegetarian.. (1)

dafing (753481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35913490)

I'm trying to take your comment as genuine Arterion, although it is difficult.

We kill some 56 Billion* other humans each and every year, for our pleasure and/or profit? I don't think so. I'm not thrilled on "sweatshops", however that is in no way similar to what we do to other animals, who have no choice whatsoever, who are indeed locked inside their confinements, be it by a gate, a wall, a cage or what have you, to await their miserable deaths.

Who decides where we are classified? Did Chickens invent some "food chain", and put us at the top of it? Do they justify "the way the world is" by this image they've concocted? Or do we tell ourselves this, with a design of our own invention, "conveniently" placing ourselves at its pinnacle? :-)

Sociologist Roger Yates has an interesting podcast and blog on this issue, http://human-nonhuman.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Yes, other animals do indeed kill and eat the remains of further more animals. They also do *many* other things you and I would consider unethical, yet we do not use "all the other kids were doing it!" as an excuse for polygamy, incest, murder etc. If we are indeed capable of caring for others, does that not become an obligation? Is an adult not obligated to care for a child? Lets say, you're driving your car past a school, and some idiot child runs in front of your vehicle, oblivious. Are you obligated to *attempt* to stop, to avoid them? Or, is it "shit happens", with no course correction ethically obligated on your part? Are we to instead ACCELERATE, knocking them into the back of our "ute" (in American, "pickup truck")? I dont think so, I dont think you would either.

I do not believe in a "mother nature".

I would again suggest Professor Gary Franciones "Abolitionist Approach" website, http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/ [abolitionistapproach.com] , his podcasts and articles are fantastic, his work is often published in American media, such as his "We're All Michael Vick" piece from a few years ago, why are we so concerned about a rich African American who made dogs hurt one another, when we believe in harming and killing many billions of *other* animals each year? Why do we hold a moral worth on the life of dogs, yet not pigs?

http://articles.philly.com/2009-08-14/news/24986151_1_atlanta-falcons-quarterback-vick-illegal-dog-dog-fights [philly.com]

If its not crass, can I shamelessly plug my own podcast? My last episode was about American tv shows coming to New Zealand to record, tying this into perceptions given by television, using clips from many episodes of King of the Hill, as related to Animal Rights. Finally, I wrap up the episode with Barbara DeGrande, the founder of Animal Rights and Rescue North Texas, to ask about Texas stereotypes portrayed via TV, aware to those living at the bottom of the world, and of promoting Veganism in Texas.

http://www.invsoc.org.nz/2011/04/episode-52-new-zealand-diet-where-you.html [invsoc.org.nz]

Best wishes Arterion! *56 Billion land animals killed each year, 2007 FAO figures, PDF here http://bit.ly/56billion [bit.ly]

Tissue studies != whole organism testing. (2)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904400)

The implication of this news story is that we can replace test animals with "synthetic" tissue analogues but it simply isn't true (despite the fact animal libbers will spin it that way). Tissue based testing is only relevant if you are doing large scale testing to see if a possible effect occurs or are looking at a specific tissue type. The problem is that tissues do not function as individual units in the same way they function as part of an organism.

For example nearly any compound out there will kill or damage tissue samples at concentrations which even the most sickly lab rat wouldn't notice. Our systems have evolved to quickly remove toxins and to keep other compounds at homoeostasis, but this doesn't work when you isolate the tissues.

You can't replace whole organism testing with "synthetic" tissue samples and get useful science except at the most basic level. Hell, animal testing is often not even a good substitute for human testing it is just that the public got upset by the rampant testing of vulnerable people in the 40's - 70's so things have to be proven "safe" on animals first.

Re:Tissue studies != whole organism testing. (1)

e_hu_man (1277028) | more than 3 years ago | (#35909012)

the key here is "animal testing is often not even a good substitute for human testing." the progress of synthetic skin is mildly interesting, but it seems barely relevant to the topic of animal testing. of much more relevance is whether animal testing results are useful in a scientific sense. given that most of the science done in the name of developing correlations to humans, animal testing seems to have a rather poor track record. thalidomide is one of the more prominent examples, though, ironically, also a big factor in the public getting upset and wanting animal testing.

Yeah but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904518)

is the synthetic skin made of graphene?

Good to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904608)

... that Slashdot is still misusing the emblem of the international red cross :-(

It's sad. (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904686)

If only we could compare the cumulative research costs to PETA's budget and lost economic potential.

Obviously science builds on science but the end result is probably going to save a hundred times as many animals as PETA for a fraction of the overall cost.

Re:It's sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35905958)

Not everything is about money, you know. It doesn't have to be, either.

Oh yeah, this is just GREAT (2)

Sibko (1036168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904928)

Let's use synthetic skin that almost certainly doesn't fully reflect the effects on an actual human or animal!

What if that new face cream you've got turns out to be a contact poison that only effects the liver? This fancy synthetic skin come with a liver? Oh it doesn't?

Sounds to me like a cost cutting measure by the company that is going to result in less safe skin care products, and their marketing is playing off the animal rights angle so people don't question it.

I understand the desire to cut out animal testing, and I fully support that. But the human body is complex, some chemical that makes your skin smooth or clears your nostrils might also cause nerve tissue damage [cbsnews.com] . We quite simply cannot match the complexity of the human body synthetically right now, it is foolish and naive to think that you can test a chemical on only one part of the body and ignore all the other parts because they're not related.

Re:Oh yeah, this is just GREAT (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905358)

My problem with the thought of this replacing animal testing comes from these two sentences in the article: "Animal skin is unpredictable, which makes it extraordinarily difficult to anticipate how it will respond when grafted onto a person. Synthetic skin, on the other hand, is consistent in composition and behavior, ..." To me this means that the synthetic skin does not fully replicate the responses of natural skin to irritants (the place where this would primarily be of use).

J Applied Polymer Sci? (2)

NCatron (103418) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905164)

Honestly, if a "revolution" in animal testing is going to occur, they watershed paper will not be out of this journal. The researchers appear to be microscopy specialists, not animal research specialists. Not to denigrate their work, but the literature is littered with people making grandiose claims about how their research can be applied with very little understanding about the other discipline where they suggest it could be useful.

Re:J Applied Polymer Sci? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35913978)

Without RTF journal A, it's more likely that the authors never made such explicit claims; rather, their University's PR inflated it into a sexy press release, then a journalist inflated it some more. Then it appeared here with this headline. Happens all the time.

Smart money says... (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905178)

Within a few years, a synthetic-skins rights activist group forms demanding for the stop to the "abusive treatment of synthetic skin" and demanding for these tests to be done on people instead.

Solves the rat skin shortage (1)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905242)

This may not come off as politically correct, but since when has there been a rat skin shortage, and how much does this stuff cost to make?

Click on our website: http://www.fullmalls.com (0)

xiaojiekytr (2059572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35905732)

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But are they good enough for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35906152)

But are they good enough for to replace my fur coat???

Good! (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35909626)

I'm not an animal rights activist. I don't have a problem with animal testing being legal, but if it's possible to get accurate results from a non-living thing that can only be good. Inflicting pain on animals was a necessary evil to prevent that pain from happening to humans, if we can eliminate the pain entirely, I say it's great.

LK

Should be improved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35911974)

Wow, this is quite ridiculous news.
100nm is not a small enough scale, It doesn't reach atomic bonding size, which atomic force microscopy is capable of.
Moreover, skin a very complex tissue formed with several highly different layers. You are not going to get the same feeling with just one polymer.
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