Real World Shock

May 20, 2008

I just read in the paper that in the UK, Parliament passed the law that will allow animal/human hybrids to be developed for the sake of medical testing. While I don’t think we’re going to see Ninja Turtles, Dog Boys, or Manimal anytime soon, I do think it’s an interesting place leading us into all those fun bio-ethics questions that border into post-human times.

Obviously, we’re probably going to see mostly pigs and monkeys with gene mods we’re not going to be able to see, probably looking at stuff like how to lower weight, give people kids with blonde hair and blue eyes, or prevent penile dysfunction (Cancer? Who cares about that?).

But, an interesting question- when we’re slamming human genes into other things, is it fair to say humans are now a virus?


One comment

  1. Given that the point of the hybridisation is to ‘create’ stem cells by turning animal cells into
    nearly human ones (99.9% human, 0.1% animal) then yes, we’re very much acting like a virus. All the more so when the ultimate intent is to propogate our species (by eliminating certain genetic disorders).

    It’s worth noting that the new law doesn’t actually change anything with regard to the modification of human embryos – we can already dictate hair/eye colour, eliminate embryos with various genetic diseases and the like.

    It’s not legal to do any of that (in the UK), but we have the capability without needing to fanny about with hybridisation.

    The hybridisation just allows for a rough and ready source of stem cells, without the existing harvesting difficulties (and swapping some of the ethical problems for entirely new ones).

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