Chimera: (n) 1. A cross between a human and an animal 2. A mythical creature with a mix of human and animal parts; often appears in Greek mythology
We are now reaching an age where we can create these chimeras. It's already happened to an extent, when human burn victims receive pig skin grafts. Scientists have transplanted organs from animals to people for years, but the next step is coming...
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/01/0125_050125_chimeras.html 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.
Other possible experiments include
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.
the mice have 100 percent human brains. This would be done, he said, by injecting human neurons into the brains of embryonic mice.
I suggest you read the article, it can explain more than I can, and discuss it. Should bans be put in place? At what point is a chimera human or animal (is there a certain ratio of animal-human genetic material to be considered, say 50-50%)? There is already a ban in Canada for producing chimeras, should other countries replicate this? If these hybrids deserve to live, what guidelines should be followed for creation and legal rights?
Fear the Bear
23rd February 2005
Ohh, this is interesting. and very very scary too
Yeah, and the main question is where to draw the line. Since there are already people with animal parts in them, albeit single organs, could someone make the case for a true hybrid? Slightly off topic, but this story reminds me of The Island. Something makes me think this will be one of the greatest moral debates in the next decade. To be honest, I am still working out my opinion on the matter, it's a very complicated issue.
No! I'm Spamacus!
17th June 2003
Has anyone ever heard of Oliver the supposed "humanzee"? I think one reason why some might call a chimera wrong is because we would then have to look at ourselves and truly realize that we are just as much animal as others are, and in some cases we couldn't be any similar. If something that was ever proven to be half-human appeared, our ethics concerning the treatment of animals would have to be rethought. I don't think it's safe at this point to create two different categories of creatures, one being animals and the other being people. Having a higher level of intelligence/soul/whatever can be pretty relative...
There are two sides to this issue, the ethical and the political. We can say that these people have souls, but they would fall under the same controversial status as clones: the whole 'are they or aren't they' human. To give this thread a little direction, let's tackle one issue first: If true chimeras were created, would they be given the rights of humans, or would they be deemed animals? Also, the humanzee is a definite hoax, even just looking at the photograph.
No! I'm Spamacus!
17th June 2003
It isn't, there has been plenty of video of Oliver. I saw a show on Oliver about half a year ago on the Discovery Channel.
20th April 2005
Wow intreasting topic hard to make up my mind on this one. Scary in a way but also intreasting, on one hand when you die just take an animal host on the other *shudders. this could be used to make a perfect spy, think about it a kitten with the mind of some spy in it. This requiers more thought.
Alright, after looking at it I admit it is an interesting case. But Oliver was bounced around as a sideshow freak and led a life of subhuman treatment. If future chimeras were to exist, should they receive this treatment, or receive full rights of a 'traditional' human? -EDIT- Hold on, apparently 'Science' ran an article about the analysis of Oliver's DNA. The result: full chimp, mutated but not a human hybrid. His chimera rating was suspended (the full story But Oliver aside, what treatment would true chimeras deserve? Animal rights, subhuman rights, or fully human rights? Should they be allowed to exist in the first place?
27th September 2005
Wow, that's real creepy. I definitely don't think full chimeras should be made at all. The idea of an animal with a human brain is cruel, and would probably produce some horrifying results.