Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy
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.
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.
[TBC: It is encouraging that the dignity of human life still has some adherents despites decades of abortion, euthanasia, and social denigration of God’s final creation. It also must be acknowledged that human "pragmatism" has a role to play and without God it is easy to imagine the same nightmare scenario portrayed by H. G. Wells in "The Island of Doctor Moreau."]