A disembodied leg might help device manufacturers develop minimally invasive coronary bypass techniques. Brain tissue advances Alzheimer’s research. Skin is the only body part a pharmaceutical company conducting research for a new topical drug might need. “We don’t want anything to go to waste,” says Brent Bardsley, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Anatomic Gift Foundation, a nonprofit whole-body donation program in Hanover, Md.

Selling body parts is mostly illegal...

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