Chimeras - In Search For Cures, Scientists Create Embryos That Are Both Animal And Human

  • metta

    Posts: 44450

    May 24, 2016 7:49 PM GMT
    In Search For Cures, Scientists Create Embryos That Are Both Animal And Human

    Human-Animal Chimeras Are Gestating on U.S. Research Farms
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    May 25, 2016 1:14 PM GMT

    My initial reaction is that this is super disturbing as summed up in the article by this: "But some scientists and bioethicists worry the creation of these interspecies embryos crosses the line. "You're getting into unsettling ground that I think is damaging to our sense of humanity," says Stuart Newman, a professor of cell biology and anatomy at the New York Medical College."

    but this really brings it home:
    "He examines whether the human stem cells have started to form a pancreas, and whether they have begun making any other types of tissues.

    The uncertainty is part of what makes the work so controversial. Ross and other scientists conducting these experiments can't know exactly where the human stem cells will go. Ross hopes they'll only grow a human pancreas. But they could go elsewhere, such as to the brain.

    "If you have pigs with partly human brains you would have animals that might actually have consciousness like a human," Newman says. "It might have human-type needs. We don't really know."

    While as far as I can tell pretty much everything in life seems a matter of consciousness however that might manifest or be expressed or observed, it seems one thing to crush a rock, to manufacture papyrus into paper, to boil a potato, to butcher a cow, to now this? So my initial reaction is that this seems the evolution of madness.










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    May 25, 2016 1:44 PM GMT
    I see the article comments have mentioned the theme of H.G. Wells' "The Island of Doctor Moreau": turning animals into humans. It formed the basis for a 1932 horror movie, "The Island of Lost Souls". The half-animal creations had to recite The Law under the direction of the Sayer of the Law. And after each law was spoken, the recurring refrain of the Sayer was: "Are we not men?"

    For this reason, as an ironic joke in certain situations I sometimes say: "Are we not gay?" Using the same intonations as the Sayer in the movie (portrayed by Bela Lugosi). I wonder how many people know my reference?
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4945

    Jun 05, 2016 8:36 PM GMT
    In this link

    I included a comment about the Island of Lost Souls. The entire movie is available on youtube.
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    Jun 06, 2016 8:16 PM GMT
    The NIH has a moratorium on funding chimera (human/animal) research for a reason. The problem is that it's a really bad situation to do something and then to try to sort the ethics/morality out after- the- fact. The best policy will come from logical thought without a half-human, half-pig gestating in a pig with a steady heartbeat.

    The researcher comes off as flippant, justifying his brave new research by stating (1) gee I take the gestations out after 28 days and (2) I would never let two animals with chimeras mate (forming a full human gestating in an animal). Yeah, sure, I believe you, given how much money and notariety would be for the taking if you were to successfully have that to happen. This just smacks of opportunism and rushing to be the first, when in fact, the better approach is not to be afraid of this, but to fully flesh out the ethical/moral implications of what chimeras entail. We can do anything, but we should only do it if we agree to an accepted norm that passes agreed upon medical ethics.

    This researcher is a prick and I'd bet dollars to donuts he's let cells gestate longer than 28 days just to see what happens, and he's considered and probably eventually will let two animals with chimeras mate to see if he can get a viable human to take in an animal. The temptation would be almost impossible, especially if you're an apparent opportunistic jerk who does first and thinks later as he has already admitted and shown himself to be. Have fun with your human-pig creations, I'm sure you'll magically thread the ethical line grasping in the dark performing trial and error in the lab.

    Sigh. Him and his ilk aside, it's a fascinating scientific opportunity.
  • BambiBoy98

    Posts: 72

    Aug 07, 2016 4:35 AM GMT
    Being heavily into science( more so quantum mechanics/physics) I feel this is still a bit unethical. I understand a goal in science is to achieve better understanding of things in the world around us. But some lines simply shouldn't be crossed in the case of chimeras. From my limited understanding of genetics don't chimeras have genetic traits from which it received genetic material from( as I mentioned before i'm more adept in quantum mechanics and physics). But for example a cow with the cognitive ability and intelligence of a human simply seems wrong. I think that's where some scientists go wrong, some lines shouldn't be crossed or blurred in my opinion. Sure it may be for the greater good. But i'm sure there are more ethical ways of achieving their goal without genetic chimeras.
  • JackNNJ

    Posts: 1507

    Aug 07, 2016 7:37 PM GMT
    Dr. Moreau, your lab is on the phone.