Thursday, January 27, 2005

Science: Scientists researching and creating animal/human hybrids are starting to get noticed by more people.

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.
I watched Full Metal Alchemist, this won't end well. Seriously though, I'm all for research but this part disturbs me.
"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."
The problem here is you can put as many guidelines as you want, some scientists are going to push beyond what most people deem acceptable due to curiosity and technical advancements.

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