Literatus: Aborted fetus kidney, taste testing

Zosimo T. Literatus
·2 min read

The horrors of using cells of aborted fetuses are to be found in the number of aborted babies being used in developing these cell lines. The more popular cell lines from aborted babies include HEK-293 (from the fetal kidney), IMR-90 (from fetal lung), IMR-91 (from fetal lung and skin), MRC-5 and MRC-9 (from fetal lung), PER-C6 (from fetal retina) and WI-38 (from fetal lung).

However, if you will notice those numbers (e.g. 293, 90, 91, 5, 9, 6 and 38), they actually represent several test lines of aborted fetal cells, indicating the number of aborted babies that had been used before HEK-1 reaches HEK-293, for example. And each of these numbers often represents a sample from a single aborted baby. Thus, IMR-90 means that 89 other cell lines before it used at least 89 aborted babies.

Now, think of how many aborted babies were involved in the development of HEK-293.

Incidentally, of these popular cell lines, HEK-293 is so far the only aborted fetal cell lines used in testing tastes for food products.

Another possible fetal cell line are human taste receptors. However, researchers are adept at not disclosing its source so that until now I failed to identify where these taste receptors came from.

Xiaodong Li and colleagues from Senomyx, a company which performs these laboratory taste tests for food producers and taste enhancer manufacturers, mentioned having identified these taste receptors from human DNA databanks. Thus, it is difficult to know if these taste receptors came from adult or aborted fetal tongues.

What is certain is that researchers like them transfect these taste receptors into the HEK-293 cell line and observe taste reactions under specialized microscopes, such as fluorescence microscopes. The taste receptors T1R1 and T1R3 are receptors that detect the umami taste, which can be found in three substances (monosodium glutamate, inosine-5’- monophosphate, and guanylo-5’- monophosphate), which are flavor enhancers for chicken and other meat products.

The reaction of this taste testing setup to flavor enhancers will determine if these products should be sold in the market with an expected positive response from human consumers.

While flavor enhancers like monosodium glutamate or inosinic acid may not contain aborted fetal cells, the taste testing for their marketability had been conducted using the HEK-293 cell line, which are kidney cells from aborted babies.

Sometimes, there is some horror in knowing the truth. Yet human consumption must be governed with moral principles for those who want to do so. It is simply difficult to imagine consuming food products or cooking with flavor enhancers that had been developed at the expense of the lives of helpless unborn children.

In the end though, it is up to the consumers to choose. And it is the obligation of responsible journalists, Catholic or not, to inform their readers on these facts.