Recently the NIH, National Institutes of Health, made the public aware that they may be providing research funds for scientists to experiment with and research the combining of animal and human stem cells. The Associate Director for Science Policy with NIH said on their blog,
With recent advances in stem cell and gene editing technologies, an increasing number of researchers are interested in growing human tissues and organs in animals by introducing pluripotent human cells into early animal embryos.
So what in the world are pluripotent human cells? Pluripotents are stem cells which are capable of creating several different cell types. The NIH refers to the hybrid cells as chimera, which in Greek mythology refers to a fire-breathing female monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. I think that this reference is very relevant given the fact that combining an animal and a human is very grotesque and reminiscent of some science-fiction movie! The associate director goes on to say that,
Formation of these types of human-animal organism holds tremendous potential for disease modeling, drug testing, and perhaps eventual organ transplant.
We all know that medicine is big business in the U.S., so this cure-the-world rhetoric may sound great, but what happens if something goes wrong and the animals end up having very human characteristics? Would they kill the creatures? Would they keep them hidden from public knowledge while they perform more unethical research and experiments on them? Besides the fact that creating these chimeras is an abomination to God, it could pose ethical dilemmas on the side of animal rights as well as human rights issues. The blog states that no primates will be used
in the experiments because they are already too close to humans in genetic makeup and intelligence. The blog also states that the NIH will not be breeding the creatures produced from the research, but the government doesn’t exactly have the best track record of honesty with the public. You know what I mean? If you want a chance to sound off on this issue, you can follow this link to complete a form provided by the NIH. The deadline to submit your opinion is September 6th, 2016.