Friday, May 28, 2010

Human-animal hybrids in life vs. death struggle. Science-fiction fantasy becomes reality in labs

Posted: May 27, 2010
10:40 pm Eastern

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

In what may seem more like a Hollywood science-fiction plot, as in the forthcoming movie 'Splice,' lawmakers are trying to prevent scientists from combining human and animal embryos to make 'human-animal hybrids.

'In 'Splice,' two scientists defy ethical boundaries and splice together human and animal DNA to create a new organism, also known as a chimera.

(Sarah Polley and Delphine Chaneac in "Splice)

At what price?

While the idea of such an experiment may seem far-fetched, scientists around the world have been dabbling in creation of human-animal hybrids for years...

Human-animal hybrid experimentationScientists have had some success with human-animal hybrid experiments. In 2003, Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University fused human cells with rabbit embryos, according to National Geographic News. The embryos were given several days to develop before the scientists destroyed them to harvest stem cells.

According to the report, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota were able to create pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies in 2004.

'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,' National Geographic reported. 'Watching how human cells mature and interact in a living creature may also lead to the discoveries of new medical treatments.

'Biotechnology activist Jeremy Rifkin told the magazine, 'One doesn't have to be religious or into animal rights to think this doesn't make sense. It's the scientists who want to do this. They've now gone over the edge into the pathological domain.'

In 2005, New York scientist Stuart Newman sought a patent on a on a process to combine human embryo cells with cells from the embryo of a monkey, ape or other animal. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected his request, according to the Washington Post, because the hybrid 'would be too closely related to a human to be patentable.'

"The Post reported Stanford University biologist Irving Weissman helped other scientists make hybrid rodents, including mice that have up to 1 percent human brain cells in their skulls.

Also, a researcher at the University of Nevada at Reno, Esmail Zanjani, successfully grew mostly human livers in sheep. His goal was to make the humanized livers available for transplant in people.

In 2008, British scientists produced human-animal hybrid embryos by inserting human DNA from a skin cell into a hollowed-out cow embryo. 'An electric shock then induced the hybrid embryo to grow,' London's Guardian reported. 'The embryo, 99.9 percent human and 0.1 percent other animal, grew for three days, until it had 32 cells.'"


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