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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy
    #3692606 - 01/28/05 10:06 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/01/0125_050125_chimeras.html


Maryann Mott
National Geographic News

January 25, 2005
Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras?a hybrid creature that's part human, part animal.

Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells.


In Minnesota last year researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies.

And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be done later this year to create mice with human brains.

Scientists feel that, the more humanlike the animal, the better research model it makes for testing drugs or possibly growing "spare parts," such as livers, to transplant into humans.

Watching how human cells mature and interact in a living creature may also lead to the discoveries of new medical treatments.

But creating human-animal chimeras?named after a monster in Greek mythology that had a lion's head, goat's body, and serpent's tail?has raised troubling questions: What new subhuman combination should be produced and for what purpose? At what point would it be considered human? And what rights, if any, should it have?

There are currently no U.S. federal laws that address these issues.

Ethical Guidelines

The National Academy of Sciences, which advises the U.S. government, has been studying the issue. In March it plans to present voluntary ethical guidelines for researchers.

A chimera is a mixture of two or more species in one body. Not all are considered troubling, though.

For example, faulty human heart valves are routinely replaced with ones taken from cows and pigs. The surgery?which makes the recipient a human-animal chimera?is widely accepted. And for years scientists have added human genes to bacteria and farm animals.

What's caused the uproar is the mixing of human stem cells with embryonic animals to create new species.

Biotechnology activist Jeremy Rifkin is opposed to crossing species boundaries, because he believes animals have the right to exist without being tampered with or crossed with another species.

He concedes that these studies would lead to some medical breakthroughs. Still, they should not be done.

"There are other ways to advance medicine and human health besides going out into the strange, brave new world of chimeric animals," Rifkin said, adding that sophisticated computer models can substitute for experimentation on live animals.

"One doesn't have to be religious or into animal rights to think this doesn't make sense," he continued. "It's the scientists who want to do this. They've now gone over the edge into the pathological domain."

David Magnus, director of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University, believes the real worry is whether or not chimeras will be put to uses that are problematic, risky, or dangerous.

Human Born to Mice Parents?

For example, an experiment that would raise concerns, he said, is genetically engineering mice to produce human sperm and eggs, then doing in vitro fertilization to produce a child whose parents are a pair of mice.

"Most people would find that problematic," Magnus said, "but those uses are bizarre and not, to the best of my knowledge, anything that anybody is remotely contemplating. Most uses of chimeras are actually much more relevant to practical concerns."

Last year Canada passed the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, which bans chimeras. Specifically, it prohibits transferring a nonhuman cell into a human embryo and putting human cells into a nonhuman embryo.

Cynthia Cohen is a member of Canada's Stem Cell Oversight Committee, which oversees research protocols to ensure they are in accordance with the new guidelines.

She believes a ban should also be put into place in the U.S.

Creating chimeras, she said, by mixing human and animal gametes (sperms and eggs) or transferring reproductive cells, diminishes human dignity.

"It would deny that there is something distinctive and valuable about human beings that ought to be honored and protected," said Cohen, who is also the senior research fellow at Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics in Washington, D.C.

But, she noted, the wording on such a ban needs to be developed carefully. It shouldn't outlaw ethical and legitimate experiments?such as transferring a limited number of adult human stem cells into animal embryos in order to learn how they proliferate and grow during the prenatal period.

Irv Weissman, director of Stanford University's Institute of Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine in California, is against a ban in the United States.

"Anybody who puts their own moral guidance in the way of this biomedical science, where they want to impose their will?not just be part of an argument?if that leads to a ban or moratorium. ? they are stopping research that would save human lives," he said.

Mice With Human Brains

Weissman has already created mice with brains that are about one percent human.

Later this year he may conduct another experiment where the mice have 100 percent human brains. This would be done, he said, by injecting human neurons into the brains of embryonic mice.

Before being born, the mice would be killed and dissected to see if the architecture of a human brain had formed. If it did, he'd look for traces of human cognitive behavior.

Weissman said he's not a mad scientist trying to create a human in an animal body. He hopes the experiment leads to a better understanding of how the brain works, which would be useful in treating diseases like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.

The test has not yet begun. Weissman is waiting to read the National Academy's report, due out in March.

William Cheshire, associate professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic's Jacksonville, Florida, branch, feels that combining human and animal neurons is problematic.

"This is unexplored biologic territory," he said. "Whatever moral threshold of human neural development we might choose to set as the limit for such an experiment, there would be a considerable risk of exceeding that limit before it could be recognized."

Cheshire supports research that combines human and animal cells to study cellular function. As an undergraduate he participated in research that fused human and mouse cells.

But where he draws the ethical line is on research that would destroy a human embryo to obtain cells, or research that would create an organism that is partly human and partly animal.

"We must be cautious not to violate the integrity of humanity or of animal life over which we have a stewardship responsibility," said Cheshire, a member of Christian Medical and Dental Associations. "Research projects that create human-animal chimeras risk disturbing fragile ecosystems, endanger health, and affront species integrity."


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InvisibleCJay
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #3692791 - 01/28/05 11:17 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Dr Moreau rides again!

Quote:

"We must be cautious not to violate the integrity of humanity or of animal life over which we have a stewardship responsibility," said Cheshire, a member of Christian Medical and Dental Associations. "Research projects that create human-animal chimeras risk disturbing fragile ecosystems, endanger health, and affront species integrity."




On a side note - bwahaha - what kind of argument is that? As if we have preserved the integrity of anything over which we have 'stewardship' anyway.

We don't want to risk disturbing 'fragile ecosystems', that would be a terrible new chapter in history.

Bloody humans


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OfflineSWEDEN
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: CJay]
    #3692815 - 01/28/05 11:25 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Haha, yes, the Christian speaks as if they are planning on creating a horde of Mice Men and releasing them into the wild, rubbing their palms together gleefuly as they go.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: SWEDEN]
    #3692832 - 01/28/05 11:32 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Taht woud be so fuckin ossum!!!1


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Offline13eetleJuice
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #3692856 - 01/28/05 11:44 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

"It would deny that there is something distinctive and valuable about human beings that ought to be honored and protected," said Cohen, who is also the senior research fellow at Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics in Washington, D.C.

Y'know I would think there is something distinctive and valuable about all living things that should be honored and protected. When did we decide that we are somehow better than all life which we co-exist with on this rock?


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OfflineSWEDEN
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: 13eetleJuice]
    #3692903 - 01/28/05 11:59 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Isn't the whole point of this research to protect the interests of the human race? It may not be considered honorable research by some, but these scientists are pioneers in an important field; if we are going to survive as a species in the millenia to come, this research must be done. The Earth was not always a habitable place for multicelular life, and it won't be for much longer. We are on the hump of the "craddle period" as I like to call it, where the optimum environment for life has begun to decline. Not to say that we don't still have millions of years to get off this sinking ship, but we should make as much scientific progress as we can before the next ice age sets in.


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Offline13eetleJuice
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: SWEDEN]
    #3692935 - 01/28/05 12:10 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

The further we head in this direction of scientific and technological advancement, if you even want to call it that, the more we make this place a hellish and uninhabitable place to exist. Heh, if you ask me we are the problem. The answers to our problems don't lie somewhere "out there". We are the problem.


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Offlinesnoopaloop53
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: 13eetleJuice]
    #3692957 - 01/28/05 12:18 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I don't think it would make the world more "hellish", i can't think of any examples of bio-engineering making life terrible. There have been a number of benefits involving crop production. We have to remember that science isn't just about finding out what works, but what doesn't work and why; so we have to let researchers drive on with their experiments and then listen to what the find out.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: snoopaloop53]
    #3692989 - 01/28/05 12:27 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

"You are either with us, or you are with the ratpeople." --George Q. Bush III 2079


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Offline13eetleJuice
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: snoopaloop53]
    #3693018 - 01/28/05 12:34 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I wasn't refering to bio-engineering specifically but rather the scope of technological advancement in general. What has it brought us besides landfills and pollution? For every step forward we take we realize that in doing so we have inadvertantly changed the landscape of things and now that hill we climb is yet another degree steeper. Heh, reminds me of a poster I saw on the subway once when I lived in London. It read "The average speed in London in the year 1900 was 15mph. The average speed in London in the year 2000 was 15mph" or something to that effect.


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Offlinesnoopaloop53
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #3693020 - 01/28/05 12:35 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

Baby_Hitler said:
"You are either with us, or you are with the ratpeople." --George Q. Bush III 2079




are we finally invading France?


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OfflineSWEDEN
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: 13eetleJuice]
    #3693031 - 01/28/05 12:39 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

You say that we are the problem, and I agree with you because we do have a chance of causing our own demise (nukes.) However I do not see how this sort of research will make this world more "hellish". On the contrary, I think that this research is necessary for our continued survival. It has been predicted with a high degree of certainty that the Earth will not always be habitable for human life. We will probably be able to survive through the coming ice ages without this research. We might be able to survive the next cycle of Milankovich orbital parameter shift (massive climate shift to the southern regions of the globe as the Earth's tilt, spin, and eliptical path cahnge; most of earth's continental plates are in the north.) We might even be able to survive the eventual reformation of the supercontinent, on which there would be a thin strip of habitable land along the coast, a circlular ring of mountains further inland, and a desert/dustbowl in between. But we most definantly will not survive our sun's eventual supernova, and we need to learn how to make genetic adaptations for life in space and on other planets if we are going to continue existing.

All that said, the threshold needed for scientific breakthroughs has been reached. We will not always have the opportunity to do this research; it is likely in the distant future that humans will be caught up in a struggle for survival, and any sort of research will be our last priority (second to finding food, shelter, etc.) We have the opportunity now to ensure our survival as a species. Why not take it to its fullest extent?


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Offlinesnoopaloop53
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: SWEDEN]
    #3693058 - 01/28/05 12:46 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I agree we should take advantage of the opportunity now before the need for the knowledge becomes critical. We will one day have to leave Earth and knowing how to alter genetics to make adapting to a new planet will become a great advantage.


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #3693088 - 01/28/05 12:54 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

People have been adding human genes to animals for ages, this isn't anything new. Without the ability to do this we wouldn't have been able to run many of the studies that have led to groundbreaking medical research, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

The problem isn't really the science, the problem is the people who don't understand it at all, read about it, and start assuming all kinds of science fiction bullshit about it.


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"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
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OfflineProsgeopax
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: Phluck]
    #3693222 - 01/28/05 01:27 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

A 13 year old boy next door got caught adding his human genes to the family Saint Bernard... fortunately, the union was fruitless.


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Money doesn't grow on trees, but deficits do grow under Bushes.

You can accept, reject, or examine and test any new idea that comes to you. The wise man chooses the third way.
- Tom Willhite

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to change my opinions should I become aware of additional facts, the falsification of information or different perspectives. Articles written by others which I post may not necessarily reflect my opinions in part or in whole, my opinions may be in direct opposition, the topic may be one on which I have yet to formulate an opinion or have doubts about, an article may be posted solely with the intent to stimulate discussion or contemplation.


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Offline13eetleJuice
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: Phluck]
    #3693225 - 01/28/05 01:28 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Heh, I'm not strictly against it. I'm not all for it either though. Once again I take a sort of nuetral standpoint. I sometimes feel as though I'm not part of the human race and only an observer, allowing me to laugh at our follies even in times that our survival as a species is at risk. I think we're a big joke and we take ourselves far too seriously. All the hustle and bustle of the modern day world reminds me of a hampster in a wheel, so ferveringly padding away and so visciously intent on reaching it's destination that it doesn't stop to realize it's not actually going anywhere or what he might do when he gets there.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #3693642 - 01/28/05 03:27 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I can hardly wait for the 2040 Olympics. Imagine the swimmers with gills and the high-jumpers with kangaroo tendons and...


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OfflineProsgeopax
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: Swami]
    #3693922 - 01/28/05 04:55 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I'd settle for a wife who fucks like a rabbit.


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Money doesn't grow on trees, but deficits do grow under Bushes.

You can accept, reject, or examine and test any new idea that comes to you. The wise man chooses the third way.
- Tom Willhite

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to change my opinions should I become aware of additional facts, the falsification of information or different perspectives. Articles written by others which I post may not necessarily reflect my opinions in part or in whole, my opinions may be in direct opposition, the topic may be one on which I have yet to formulate an opinion or have doubts about, an article may be posted solely with the intent to stimulate discussion or contemplation.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: Prosgeopax]
    #3693956 - 01/28/05 05:10 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I've never "done" a rabbit. How is it?


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The proof is in the pudding.


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OfflineProsgeopax
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Re: Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy [Re: Swami]
    #3693976 - 01/28/05 05:15 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Messy, unless your 'endowment' is quite a bit smaller than average.


--------------------
Money doesn't grow on trees, but deficits do grow under Bushes.

You can accept, reject, or examine and test any new idea that comes to you. The wise man chooses the third way.
- Tom Willhite

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to change my opinions should I become aware of additional facts, the falsification of information or different perspectives. Articles written by others which I post may not necessarily reflect my opinions in part or in whole, my opinions may be in direct opposition, the topic may be one on which I have yet to formulate an opinion or have doubts about, an article may be posted solely with the intent to stimulate discussion or contemplation.


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