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UK Moves To Allow Human Hybrid Experiments 284

Posted by kdawson
from the be-afraid-oh-never-mind dept.
penguin_dance writes "The UK is apparently rethinking its ban on human hybrid experiments. If approved by regulators, '[t]he move opens the door to experiments involving every known kind of human-animal hybrid. These could include both "cytoplasmic" embryos, which are 99.9% human, and "true hybrids" carrying both human and animal genes.' Previous calls for an outright ban on all human-animal embryos outraged scientists, according to the article, who believe that 'work on human-animal hybrid embryos will greatly speed up progress in stem cell research.' The report claims there will be a provision for regulation of the research to incorporate any 'unforeseen developments.' Let the Island of Dr. Moreau comparisons begin!"
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UK Moves To Allow Human Hybrid Experiments

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  • by ebusinessmedia1 (561777) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @03:19AM (#20908203)
    Woof! er..... I meant "Hi"
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by setien (559766)
      Still, that's preferable to someone sniffing your butt when you first meet.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by duggi (1114563)
      I am really interested to see the results, jokes apart, cures for some major aliments can be found. This is a really good step taken, but I doubt its success , there will be lot many failures before we get to see something remotely useful. I doubt what average joe's reaction to medicine(or the product for curing a disease) would be.
    • Well over 50 years ago a British author, wrote of the angst of slave owning and the first requirement of de-humanizing the property. Migrant workers, mine workers, homeless, illegal immigrants; they make us uncomfortable to the degree we find them human and worthy of sympathy. And to the degree we think them less than ourselves, we de-humanize ourselves. In Cordwainer's world, the lovely C'mell helps a young man find his humanity at the expense being a member of the overlords. On the other hand it was genet
  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @03:20AM (#20908209) Homepage
    Given my experience on most Friday nights, animal-women hybrids already exist.

    I'm such a bitch...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @03:41AM (#20908323)
      Given my experience on most Friday nights, animal-women hybrids already exist.

      Yeah, well, the average non-slashdot-reader spends his Friday nights in a bar, not in the MMORPG where you live.

    • by MikeFM (12491)
      I'd buy an animal-woman hybrid if they can produce the body of a teenage girl with the brain of say a cat. Finally a date that is impressed by going to a buffet and that just wants to go home and spend some time licking and petting.

      Okay - so I'm married now so I guess I couldn't buy one. I just don't think my wife would let me keep a pet that looked human and especially not one that tended towards being an attractive nude female. It'd be awful hard to explain to the kids too.
  • by AHuxley (892839) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @03:25AM (#20908235) Homepage Journal
    Reminds me of Patricia Piccinini, an Australian artist who made a a set of sculptures called "The Young Family".
    http://www.roslynoxley9.com.au/artists/31/Patricia_Piccinini/249/ [roslynoxley9.com.au]
  • That comment from G.W. Bush on human-animal hybrids was kind of dismissed as whimsical religious paranoia. However, maybe the man had a point after all.

    The next generation of terrorists may have tentacles.

       
    • by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @03:43AM (#20908329)

      The next generation of terrorists may have tentacles.
      I think it's rather unlikely that the next generation of terrorists will come from Japan.
    • Well, given that Bush appears as a religious fanatic (the textbook false prophet, if you ask me, but I digress) helps in dismissing his ramblings.
      In fact my foremost objection to this kind of experimentation is philosophical, not religious.
      If I experiment on my fellow humans' genome I'm going to sacrifice an embryo to do research. To save other people? That's what they say, but it really is "to save other people under our terms". Because profit will be made out of this research, because patents will decide
      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        One of the main reasons is organ shortages. You can (with some effort) use a pigs heart in a human, but not for example a pigs kidney. Mix in some genetic manipulation and voia.. a living breathing oinking organ bank.

        Never saw the problem with this - no different than eating sausages.
  • When the X5s are ready.
  • by Solokron (198043) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @03:27AM (#20908259)
    He is hung like a horse! No, I really mean it Tiffany!
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @03:29AM (#20908273) Homepage Journal
    Yoko Ono's dream of having an octopus child may become a reality.
  • At last the species-dysmorphic among us will have some way of making things right. Plus it would be neat for those of us [wikia.com] who like the idea of anthropomorphic animals.
  • by jeremyp (130771) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @04:02AM (#20908413) Homepage Journal
    I think kdawson needs to find a better news source. The BBC reported this story more than a month ago.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6978384.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Sockatume (732728)
      It's worse than that, TFA in the original post is about them considering a route to authorising animal-human hybrids. We passed that stage a long time ago. "Olds for nerds"?
  • Yirmiyahu 31:26 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Apple Acolyte (517892)
    "Behold days are coming, says the Lord, and I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with seed of man and seed of beasts."
    • "Your ass shall be seized in front of you, and it shall not be returned to you."
      • by dido (9125)

        Actually the relevant verse is Deuteronomy 28:31: "...thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee..."

      • by Fizzl (209397)
        Damn, I was getting my hopes up that I just got a new sig.
        However, it turns out there's only 29 verses in Deuteronomy chapter 29.
    • "Behold days are coming, says the Lord, and I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with seed of man and seed of beasts."
      What has Onanism got to do with this story?
  • Finally, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Fengpost (907072)
    they make the live action Thundercats movie. I can't wait to see the picture of Cheetara!
  • The problems with this kind of research are ethical. So let us consider possible advantages. What is this research for?

    a) Rare diseases. Many people die in poor countries because there is no proper health care. Why fund research with possibly far reaching ethical dilemmas that might one day cure some rare disease when there are millions to be saved?

    b) Common causes of death. We now reach an average age of around 80. That's enough. There is no point in following Faust's example with the risk of getting us in
    • This line of research is not going to give us more insight into nature, nor is it morally acceptable at this point.
      I don't know about you, but for me a cell isn't a person.
      • by tgv (254536)
        From the article:

        human embryos modified with animal DNA [-] will also be allowed under licence.
        That's a bit more than a cell.
        • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
          An embryo is a cell pretty much. Then a bunch of cells.

          The things are going to be destroyed after 15 days - never gets past the 'bunch of cells' part.

          No ethical dilemmas to see here... move along...
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tgv (254536)
            Until someone argues that there could be a great, big promise when we let them develop a little bit more. Just to see where the specialization sets in, how it is different from normal human embryo's. Perhaps we can cure some fashionable disease with it then!

            Repeat 17 times and congratulations, you're the proud father of the first Chimera(TM) and my God, will you feel sorry for it.

            So stop it, before it's too late. We can always start the investigation again if we stop now, but if we continue, we can't undo i
    • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @05:43AM (#20908843)
      >What is this research for?
      Might help find a cure for:
      Elephantitus
      Dog Breath
      Catalepsy
      Hare loss (work with me here)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      a) Rare diseases. Many people die in poor countries because there is no proper health care. Why fund research with possibly far reaching ethical dilemmas that might one day cure some rare disease when there are millions to be saved?

      That argument doesn't hold a lot of water. The reasons people die in poor countries are economic, not due to a lack medical knowledge, so by your logic, all medical research should stop until we've solved third world economics?

      b) Common causes of death. We now reach an av

      • by tgv (254536)
        I would say funds for possibly unethical, dangerous and nonsensical medical research could be applied to better causes.

        About the quality of life: I can't imagine giving everyone a stem cell DNA-replacement treatment (or whatever might be the hypothetical outcome of this research) for free. And, on the off-chance that this will happen anyway, it *will* extend life, whether you like it or not, and open up a whole new bunch of disabilities for elderly people.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hey! (33014)
          But admitting this, your argument becomes circular: research is unethical if it wastes money that could go to solve social problems. Money on research is wasted if the research is unethical.

          If you want to bring the effects of research on the poor into this, you must either treat all research equally, or show why this research has effects on the poor that are peculiar to it.

          Alternatively, you need to come up with a definition of "useful" that includes pure science but not applied science that may provide n
          • by tgv (254536)
            No, by unethical I mean amoral. The research starts without knowing what good it is going to do, takes risks, manipulates things people don't want manipulated and will put us up with its outcomes. Furthermore, I don't expect any great insights from research where the basic target is mixing up genes just for the heck of it and see what comes out. Hey, perhaps we can patent it.

            The promise of this kind of research is always something medical (treat some disease, basically), never fundamental knowledge.

            Conseque
            • by stranger_to_himself (1132241) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @08:41AM (#20909937) Journal

              Furthermore, I don't expect any great insights from research where the basic target is mixing up genes just for the heck of it and see what comes out.

              Um.. That's bascially all that conventional plant breeders do, and you benefit from that every single day.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by hey! (33014)

                Furthermore, I don't expect any great insights from research where the basic target is mixing up genes just for the heck of it and see what comes out.

                Um.. That's bascially all that conventional plant breeders do, and you benefit from that every single day.

                Actually, I think plant breeders have a pretty good idea of what they are doing: they cross plants with desirable characteristics. Your argument would actually apply more to certain kinds of pharmacological research where they generate new compounds and

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by hey! (33014)

              No, by unethical I mean amoral. The research starts without knowing what good it is going to do, takes risks, manipulates things people don't want manipulated and will put us up with its outcomes. Furthermore, I don't expect any great insights from research where the basic target is mixing up genes just for the heck of it and see what comes out. Hey, perhaps we can patent it.

              The promise of this kind of research is always something medical (treat some disease, basically), never fundamental knowledge.

              Your pos

    • Why do you think 80 is enough?
      • by tgv (254536)
        Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon (Susan Ertz)
        • Maybe. But I want to live forever. One of the things that troubles me the most is that I'll not get to see the scientific discoveries that are made after my death. I want to know whether there's life on other planets, and talk to artificial brains, and understand the universe. I always think it's unfair that I know more about the world than most of the greatest scientists who ever lived. So 80? Not enough I think. Not for me anyway.
          • by tgv (254536)
            Me too, but face it: if you can live forever, so can 6 billion other people. And their offspring. Not to be too Malthusian, but we're already stretching the limits of what this planet can bear. Curiousness kills the cat, but it shouldn't kill a planet.

            By the way, if there is no extraterrestial life, you're going to have to wait pretty long for an answer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jtheletter (686279)
      Wow, glad you summed up a complex argument, moral dilemma, and vast as yet un-explored research field in two points. I'm hoping you were being sarcastic. If not then you, as a scientist, shift your area of research to only the most massively-important topic of the year every time it changes right? So which cancer are you curing? Or are you working on AIDS research? No? How about increasing crop yields for harsh-climate strains? Hm, inventing cheap potable water conversion techniques, or desalination? Or I g
  • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @04:58AM (#20908631)
    The furry are coming.

    Resistance is futile.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Dr. Cody (554864)
      ...they've already conquered Second Life--now they're setting up for an invasion of the first one, too!
  • You know it's true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @05:29AM (#20908771)
    1. We're already experimenting with animals, including almost-humans (apes). They have similar self-appreciation, feelings, pain and confusion like you. We're only less sympathetic since they're not EXACTLY like us. But they are, in fact, more like us than we suspect.

    2. Experimenting with human embyos, experimenting on people will dramatically further science and improve life for the rest of us (billions). It means we need to come to terms with the fact that humans are animals as any, and experimentation is required. But how do we do that without allowing for genocide? Not simple problem, but unless we solve it, we'll all be victims to save the few from being victims.
    • by oliderid (710055)
      I would put the problem this way:

      - What is a human being? What makes us "Human"? I don't mean biogically, i mean philosophically speaking.
      - When do we become "human"? Once an ovule is fertilised?
      - When there is some cerebral activities?
      - Once the heart starts to beat?
      - Are few hundreds of cells already a human?
      - Can you already consider it as a victim even if there is no developped organs?
      - When a body even without a mind can react to stress?

      We all want to live longer, healthy and in a securised environment
  • This has been going on in secret for years. How else do you account for Gordon Brown?
  • by MikShapi (681808) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @06:45AM (#20909197) Journal
    "I'm Barf, half-Dog and half-Man. I'm my own best friend!"
  • Makes you wonder where they draw the line on zoophilia. Will a 95% guy with 5% horse genes (yes, right there..) be able to legally fsck a 68% girl with a pony-tail?
  • im liberal, im humanist, im netizen, im even new ager, kind of hippie, but thats way too much. WAY too much.
  • Should we just rename Earth to Rapture right now and get it over with?

    Seriously though, I think if we get into these waters we may end up triggering some kind of genetic arms race- I can't even imagine.

    I also agree with some other posters- don't we have bigger medical crises to spend money on? How about clean drinking water and fighting malaria in Africa?
  • Is this really a question of ethics, or just fueling our beliefs that our beloved pets must have emotions/souls? By imposing our own human mannerisms on top of their default primal, instict-driven, action-reaction behavioral patterns, we delude ourselves into thinking our pets would really bother to think twice about eating you alive if the "easier" food sources suddenly became scarce. Sure, you might be able to stop one of them, before the main course starts, but not without enduring a decent amount of dam
  • We spend multiple millions of years crawling out of the primordial ooze to walk on two legs, develop opposable thumbs and a brain large enough to create a civilization that dominates our planet, and now we're gonna start going BACKWARDS? What the hell were the last several million years of evolution for?
  • by Jtheletter (686279) on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @08:47AM (#20909999)
    The report claims there will be a provision for regulation of the research to incorporate any 'unforeseen developments.'

    It's Ripley with a flame thrower.
  • 1) BBC (once a trusted institution) caught fabricating programming, not to mention what the other broadcasters get up to. 2) Crime massively on the rise, with no police action, they are too busy pulling over the sensible middle class for driving 40 MPH in a 35MPH zone. 3) BBC cutting 2500 staff, mainly in 'Factual Programming'. See item 1). 4) Extremist entities being given more airtime than others who have a more constructive and honest message. 5) General massive dumbing down of our society with a focus o
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2007 @09:52AM (#20910719)
    ...since 60% of my genes are the same of those of a drosophila (fruit flies). BTW I also share 90% of my genes with mouses, not to mention that 98% with chimpanzees. I also have 30% of the genes of yeast, which makes of me a human/fungi hybrid I guess.

    No really, people using terms like "human/animal hybrid" or "chimera" when talking about DNA modifications are probably trying to scandalise more than inform.

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