Author Topic: Human-animal mixing going too far  (Read 5140 times)

Devious Viper
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Human-animal mixing going too far
« on: August 31, 2006, 12:52:42 PM »
Human-animal mixing going too far, report says
Aug. 9, 2006

Scientists are going too far in creating mixed human-animal organisms, a Scottish organization is warning. The Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, a professional group based in Edinburgh, has published a report on the ethical implications of the practice in the journal Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics. The report is online at www.schb.org.uk.

"Crossing the human species barrier is a procedure that has always fascinated humanity," noted the report, made public Tuesday and written in light of draft legislation on human embryology being prepared by the U.K. Department of Health, to be published this summer.

Ancient Greek mythology speaks of monsters such as the Minotaur - a man with a bull's head - and centaurs, mixtures of humans and horses.  But creatures of this nature may not remain confined to mythology for long, as scientists have begun tentatively creating mixed organisms. An array of experiments have produced animals with some human cells, for instance.

Such procedures "mix human and animal biological elements to such an extent that it questions the very concept of being entirely human," the report said. This raises "grave and complex ethical difficulties."


An artist's concept of what a human-dog hybrid might look like. The strange creatures are part of a sculpture by Australian artist Patricia Piccinini entitled "The Young Family," produced to spark reflection on the perils of creating human-animal mixtures.

Some ethicists worry that the experiments might force society to make confounding decisions on whether, say, a human-chimp mix would have human rights. Other concerns are that such a creature could suffer from being outcast as a "monster," from having a chimp as its biological father or mother, or from unusual health problems.

Some inter-species mixtures are powerful research tools, the report said.

This "became clear about a decade ago in a series of dramatic experiments in which small sections of brains from developing quails were taken and transplanted into the developing brains of chickens. The resulting chickens exhibited vocal trills and head bobs unique to quails, proving that the transplanted parts of the brain contained the neural circuitry for quail calls. It also offered astonishing proof that complex behaviours could be transferred across species."

Later research has spawned human-animal creations, the report said. These usually die at the embryonic stage, but often survive if the mixtures involve only a few cells or genes transferred from one species to another.

The council cited the following examples:

In 2003, scientists at Cambridge University, U.K. conducted experiments involving fusing the nucleus of a human cell into frog eggs. The stated aim was to produce rejuvenated "master cells" that could be grown into replacement tissues for treating disease. It was not clear whether fertilization took place, but "some kind of development was initiated," the report said.

In 2005, U.K. scientists transplanted a human chromosome into mouse embryos. The newly born mice carried copies of the chromosome and were able to pass it on to their own young.

The company Advanced Cell Technologies was reported, in 1999, to have created the first human embryo clone by inserting a human cell nucleus into a cow's egg stripped of chromosomes. The result was an embryo that developed and divided for 12 days before being destroyed.

Panayiotis Zavos, the operator of a U.S. fertility laboratory, reported in 2003 that he had created around 200 cow-human hybrid embryos that lived for about two weeks and grew to several hundred cells in size, beyond the stage at which cells showed the first signs of developing into tissues and organs.

In 2003, Hui Zhen Sheng of Shanghai Second Medical University, China, announced that rabbit-human embryos had been created by fusing human cells with rabbit eggs stripped of their chromosomes. The embryos developed to the approximately 100-cell stage that forms after about four days of development.

The council made 16 recommendations, including that it should be illegal to mix animal and human sperm and eggs, or to create an embryo containing cells consisting of both human and animal chromosomes.

"The fertilisation of animal eggs with human sperm should not continue to be legal in the U.K. for research purposes," said Calum MacKellar, the councilís director of research.

"Most people are not aware that these kinds of experiments have been taking place in the U.K. and find it deeply offensive. Parliament should follow France and Germany and prohibit the creation of animal-human hybrid embryos."

In a report published in 2004, the President's Council on Bioethics in the United States also advocated prohibiting the creation of animal-human embryos by uniting human and animal eggs and sperm. A draft law introduced in U.S. Congress by Senator Samuel Brownback (R-Kan) would outlaw the creation of human-animal mixtures.

A 2005 report from the U.K. House of Commons Science and Technology Committee takes a more liberal stance, saying such embryos could be legal for research purposes if they are destroyed within 14 days.

"While there is revulsion in some quarters that such creations appear to blur the distinction between animals and humans, it could be argued that they are less human than, and therefore pose fewer ethical problems for research than fully human embryos," the committee wrote.

Mr. Kreepy
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Re: Human-animal mixing going too far
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2008, 07:04:25 AM »
It still baffles me how many people seriously consider this a major concern.
What exactly is the problem with hybridizing humans and animals? I guess I'm a bit biased, since I wholeheartedly support "playing God". Can someone explain to me why it's such an awful idea to create hybrids?

Daemonin

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Re: Human-animal mixing going too far
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2008, 02:25:11 PM »
I totally went to an ethics symposium these past three days and I can just tell you what I learned.

We discussed stem-cell research and whether or not cloning was "ethical."  Many said we should not because it is "playing God."  This would also apply to the hybrid situation.

The ethics behind playing God is really just your beliefs.  Would it really be ethical to create a life just to test it and poke at it and let it die?  Would it really be moral to create a new species of sorts that would risk being discriminated against because it is different? 

Just look at Frankenstein's monster and how people reacted to that? 

Then again, most of it is the basic Christian set of beliefs and how we should not be like God and create like God because Satan wanted to be equal to God.  If we create life in that sense, we would be like Satan and damned to Hell.

That's just what I got out of it.

Regina Terra

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Re: Human-animal mixing going too far
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2008, 08:21:40 AM »
Bleh, we create life everyday, we GIVE BIRTH TO IT. Is that not like being God? So what's really the difference between doing it in our own bodies, where we can go & kill it by abortion, & doing it in a test tube?

If we can, in essence, murder our own biological offspring, then ship it off for stem cell research, then why not all the rest?
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Daemonin

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Re: Human-animal mixing going too far
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2008, 11:20:41 AM »
But when you have your test tube babies, it's typically where the eggs are removed, anywhere from 5-25ish fetuses are fertilized, then they are tested and the mother chooses the one she wants, then the rest are discarded.

THAT is playing God.  Picking and choosing and leaving the rest to die.

Is that good or bad?

And then, with the human/animal hybrids, you would be picking and choosing and creating new species that would more than likely not be accepted and considered freaks and monsters and maybe even hunted and killed.  We have had enough of that in our history, do we really need more pitchfork burnings?

Regina Terra

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Re: Human-animal mixing going too far
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2008, 01:40:58 PM »
I can see your point in the pitch fork burning thing.

But if you think about it, it's nothing more than evolution. The only difference is that they die BEFORE they are born, as AFTER wards. Genetically speaking, we "kill" people everyday when we refuse to reproduce & pass on their genes.
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Re: Human-animal mixing going too far
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2008, 07:43:57 AM »
But when you have your test tube babies, it's typically where the eggs are removed, anywhere from 5-25ish fetuses are fertilized, then they are tested and the mother chooses the one she wants, then the rest are discarded.

THAT is playing God.  Picking and choosing and leaving the rest to die.

Is that good or bad?

And then, with the human/animal hybrids, you would be picking and choosing and creating new species that would more than likely not be accepted and considered freaks and monsters and maybe even hunted and killed.  We have had enough of that in our history, do we really need more pitchfork burnings?


Lol, you have 888 posts. we have a mall with the same name!


Anyway,the simplest solution to the discrimination thingy is to make more.

Make enough and people will stop worryinhg about it. :laugh:
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Regina Terra

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Re: Human-animal mixing going too far
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2008, 08:58:06 AM »
>.>

That... Just might work. Wow Raz, lol.
Gabriel, "Don't kill yourself for it would crush my angelic heart. I love you for who you are and I'm glad I met you. :]"

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Mr. Kreepy
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Re: Human-animal mixing going too far
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2008, 01:50:48 PM »
The ethics behind playing God is really just your beliefs.  Would it really be ethical to create a life just to test it and poke at it and let it die?  Would it really be moral to create a new species of sorts that would risk being discriminated against because it is different?

I personally don't think ethics has anything to do with it. People are too hung up on whether something is right or wrong to think about the potential advancements that could be made. The vast universe of possibilities vastly outweighs the concern of it not being ethical, in my opinion.

But when you have your test tube babies, it's typically where the eggs are removed, anywhere from 5-25ish fetuses are fertilized, then they are tested and the mother chooses the one she wants, then the rest are discarded.

THAT is playing God.  Picking and choosing and leaving the rest to die.

Is that good or bad?

It is my view that the Homo Sapiens species has hit an evolutionary dead-end. We have nothing in our environment to push us toward advancement. However, we have the ability to force ourselves to evolve for the better. Utilization of eugenics, and more specifically the creation of test tube babies, is an example of forcing ourselves toward advancement. I view it as an extremely good thing.

Regina Terra

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Re: Human-animal mixing going too far
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2008, 04:05:49 PM »
The only thing BAD, in my opinion, is throwing away perfectly good & useful genes simply cuz we don't like them.

All the unwanted body hair you got from your dad? It's NECCESARY, your ancestors came from a region where mosquitoes carried horrible diseases & viruses, so thanks to all that body hair, they felt them land, & could squash them before they bit them to pass on the infections.

Things like that helped make us what we are today, the good & the bad, so why throw them away when we might need them again? Who ants to be as bald as a newborn baby everywhere, when it means dying of malaria?

Personally, I'll take shaving my legs everyday over death. :-D
Gabriel, "Don't kill yourself for it would crush my angelic heart. I love you for who you are and I'm glad I met you. :]"

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Grendelion

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Re: Human-animal mixing going too far
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2008, 09:54:05 PM »
I haven't read much into this topic but I have my own ideas from what little I have read so bare with me.

Ethics aside, the problem with hybridizing animals with different genetic structures isn't necessarily the inability of doing it.  Its the ability of getting it right.  Its not as simple as introducing one gene with another.  So much can go wrong when you screw around with a blueprint that mother nature herself has already perfected.  Its like trying to make an already constructed skyscraper seaworthy, you don't just move the thing onto water and hope for the best.  It takes evolution quite a long time to work out the kinks of new species with trial and error, a.k.a. extinction.  Some genes determine bone structure, basic shapes and size of the anatomy, the frame if you will.  Others determine the use of sensory organs and their overall efficiency, body operations that separate warm-blooded animals from cold-blooded animals, dietary needs, is the stomach made to digest plants, meat, or both and what is needed to acquire the food be it sharp teeth, claws.  Other genes determine brain size, essential if your new creature is to be sentient or work off basic instincts, as well as immunity and fertility, the most important genes if your species is to survive.  All of these traits work off each other and must be meticulously intertwined in order to operate properly.  One flaw, and the whole thing fails, being deformed or dying.

The problem with making hybrids is you're dealing with pre-engineered genes and trying to get them to do something completely different, even worse, trying to get these very different genes to cooperate.  Most of the time they end up conflicting with each other, one gene saying do this, the other wanting to do something entirely different, leading to various deformations.  In my opinion, once you can manage to engineer your own genes, ones that do what you want them to, then the problems should be subtle.  Tell the genes you want your creature to have the head of a wolf(not as easy as it sounds) and the body of a hominid(even more complicated) and somehow get the two structures to cooperate and you got your hybrid wolfman.  You keep the crosses in the same family, mammals with mammals, reptiles with reptiles, etc. and you don't have to mess around with the basic body functions, somethings thats even more complicated and less likely to work out than the basic body structure.  Get the kinks worked out like nature does, and you can make a healthy new species.
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Regina Terra

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Re: Human-animal mixing going too far
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2008, 07:47:34 AM »
Quote
The problem with making hybrids is you're dealing with pre-engineered genes and trying to get them to do something completely different, even worse, trying to get these very different genes to cooperate.
I agree entirely with your post, but one thing I would like to point out, is that all evolution does, is take old genes & use them in new ways. people are already using reverse engineering (or whoever you call it) to turn chickens into dinosaurs. Simply by messing with the on off switches in DNA.

So, it might not be all that hard to do the same with the genes we got from our ancestors before they evolved into mammals. Lizard people anyone? >XD
Gabriel, "Don't kill yourself for it would crush my angelic heart. I love you for who you are and I'm glad I met you. :]"

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Mr. Kreepy
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Re: Human-animal mixing going too far
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2008, 03:19:39 AM »
You actually have a very good point, Regina. I'm quite impressed with your argument.

Grendelion, the way I see it is the sky is the limit. A thousand years ago nobody would have thought a car could exist, yet they're the number 1 form of transportation on Earth.
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