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Human/Animal hybrids getting closer..

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posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 04:07 AM
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Article taken from this thread on Slashdot.org:




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."


The most scary part is about having mice deliver human babies...


Usually im all for this kind of research, but I think some people have crossed the lines on what should be accomplished. Organ for humans research is fine, but the things this article descriebe is - Scary I think.




posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 04:31 AM
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I dont see anything inherently wrong with it. The medical advancements would be amazing, as far as the other potentional experiments... I dont know what to think about that. Part of me is curious, and part of me says no. Honestly, logic tells me yes, emotion tells me no. Im sure theyve already created hybrids between chimps and humans, it is extremely possible and I wouldnt doubt that they've done it in private to avoid public ethical outcry. As long as it doesnt get ridiculously out of hand or just inherently cruel, I would be extremely curious and my logic tells me yes.



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 08:58 AM
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I am all for it 100%
there are allways people that want to drag their feet when we are progressing but those same people later on enjoying what these progressions bring just look at the chrisitains



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 04:58 PM
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Not only am I for it but I would volunteer for experimental testing =)



posted on Jan, 27 2005 @ 07:52 PM
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Man it's wrong! Didn't you idiots just read that the mice will have human brains. When they are shooting them up with drugs, they'll feel the pain you feel. It's very interesting but to boost an animals understanding of pain, then give it to it is wrong.



posted on Jan, 28 2005 @ 07:50 PM
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Why creat hybrids? What could we possibly gain? What if we were to give apes a smarter brain? Does the statue of lyberty ring a bell?



posted on Jan, 28 2005 @ 08:31 PM
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Did you guys actually read the article? There are numerous medical possibilities and insights into this, they arent trying to create monsters.



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 11:14 AM
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Embrionic research is amazing, In twenty years I believe that we will be able to clone ourselves and then grow individual organs for use in the future. This would be a wonderful brakethrough, there are many body parts that we cannot replace, but need.



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 01:55 PM
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Originally posted by Alec Eiffel
Did you guys actually read the article? There are numerous medical possibilities and insights into this, they arent trying to create monsters.

You clearly don't understand. They are creating monsters. Some are the animals are not even in the same genus. What benefit does this give? What does finding a cure for Cancer, AIDS or Malaria have to do with these insane projects. Genetically creating a Canary/Tiger isn't anywhere NEAR a medical breakthrough. This is unadulterated MADNESS.



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 07:13 PM
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I'll be so cool if i had falcon eyes, and wings....

man i would be rockin the BIRDMAN trend...lol



Well did you know that scientist controls mice or mouse whatever by installing a small chip on their back, and control their movement with the arrow keys of a keyboard...using computer and such.


[edit on 29-1-2005 by skyblueff0]



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 07:53 PM
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How on earth do you think humans were created

evolution ? LOL yeah right.



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 08:17 PM
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Originally posted by Asia Minor

Originally posted by Alec Eiffel
Did you guys actually read the article? There are numerous medical possibilities and insights into this, they arent trying to create monsters.

You clearly don't understand. They are creating monsters. Some are the animals are not even in the same genus. What benefit does this give? What does finding a cure for Cancer, AIDS or Malaria have to do with these insane projects. Genetically creating a Canary/Tiger isn't anywhere NEAR a medical breakthrough. This is unadulterated MADNESS.


Yeah, there giving these animals enough knowledge to almost be completely human within a different body... This is insane! These things will be able to feel the things there put through, how can anyone be so heartless, why would we want to increase the amount of pain an entity feals?



posted on Jan, 29 2005 @ 10:56 PM
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I guess you guys missed this part.

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.
Dont worry, they wont grow mutant 8ft tall rats to take over the world. They arent just doing this for fun, it has purposes. The same way we test drugs on normal animals, we dont do it for fun, it has its purposes and there is no other way around it.


J_3

posted on Jan, 30 2005 @ 12:18 AM
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I think this can be very beneficial if handled correctly. Obviously there could would be noteable issues with having an animal with the cognitive behavior of a human!

However, if we could basically use any animal as a housing unit for human organs we could potentially have a solution for those incredibly long list's of people awaiting a donor.

If we breed animals to be eating why not breed them to be used to prolong human life.



posted on Jan, 30 2005 @ 12:28 AM
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Anyone ever see that show Ghost in the Shell? In it they had farms with pigs that would have human organs in them that were a perfect match of the donor client. So if you ever need a transplant say a new kidney there was always a perfect match waiting for you. Also you could sell your replacement organ if you yourself never had a need for it. They didnt have human brains or anything they were just like normal pigs but they kept human organs alive inside them for years.

Perhaps thats what it will be like some day.



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