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Scientists seek permission for experiments with animal-human embryos

38 Comments
By Kyoko Hasegawa

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Scientists, and governments too for that matter, better start engaging society as a whole as well. You want to educate the people so they understand the science behind it, and then ask for our permission.

Let's be honest here, some of the emerging sciences, from synthetic biology to bioengineering are so recent and so complex that only a handful of people can make educated guesses as to their long term effects. That doesn't mean they're bad, because a lot of good will come from them, but that everyone has to make the big decisions together. Not just researchers and their funders, who often have links to the government or are government institutions.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I rather would see them looking at organic 3d printing but this is a good stepping stone. Sadly we all know that one again the religious will prevent progresses.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

There are serious ethical issues surrounding this but as some have already pointed out, religion is the last thing which can shed any light on it. We have been performing transplants for decades and in the last few of those we have seen heart valves made of pig and cow tissue. While this presents a new set of issues, I'd hate to see potentially life-saving technology derailed or hindered in the way stem cell research has been. I just hope those who find this unethical ( Thunderbird already raised the relevant issue of mistreatment of animals ) reason more clearly than some of the man -made dogmatic religious claptrap we heard from some opposing stem cell research. All too often, their opinions are given undue weight.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Seriously. They are growing human organs to save human lives, not genetically combining human DNA with animals to make a super human death machine. They are using pigs...PIGS...dirty animals most of you devour on a daily basis...Some people are such hypocrites. Go for it I say. If even 1 life is saved due to this experiment, it will be worth it.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

In my rather unimportant opinion...this is wrong on almost every level.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

As I said above, I don't oppose this on religious grounds but on animal welfare grounds. It's just wrong.

I would assume that you are a vegetarian because we breed animals for slaughter all the time. It would just happen to be the case that this little piggie has a human organ that can save a life. If I need a heart of a liver at some point in my life, I would be happy if an animal could provide it for me.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

You want to educate the people so they understand the science behind it, and then ask for our permission.

The problem with this is that this type of science is very complicated and that the majority of humanity is not very smart. You can see this with economics as well, that is so complicated that we are happy to leave decision making about it in the hands of a selected few who seem to get it.

In my rather unimportant opinion...this is wrong on almost every level.

As far as I can see, there is nothing to discuss, it crosses way too many lines that should not be crossed.

I disagree, these are the first steps towards human engineering and augmenting. In my opinion these are logical next steps for humanity to take. I believe humanity will eventually, when the controversy about it subsides, start to alter itself in order to become smarter, stronger, faster and so on.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

it crosses way too many lines that should not be crossed.

I hope the wit was intentional, Cleo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Apart from the idea of creating a life form only to kill it, the chimera idea is just too Frankensteiny for me. If they can create synthetic organs, or even grow new ones in a lab why use this freakish method?

I don't disapprove on religious grounds (I'm an Athiest) but on animal welfare grounds.

1 ( +5 / -3 )

"Minister, there's a Doctor Moreau on the phone for you....."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

hi, first give priority for teeth research. If we succeed to grow teeth cells, everyone will have natural teeth back planting the cells like a seed in the bone of the mouth :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Can't agree enough with Justin above. Do you people all seriously believe that the only reason that these scientists want to start doing this is so that they can eventually create human/animal chimeras? Maybe you all need to quit watching so many science fiction movies. What they are trying to do is find a method to create human organs. Wait lists for organs are terrible everywhere in the world, resulting in the yaks even harvesting organs from people to collect debts. If we can find a method to be growing human organs inside of a pig that is already going to be slaughtered for its meat, why wouldn't we do that to save lives? It's not like they are talking about starting up human cloning farms so we can harvest them for their organs. If you don't want to accept an organ grown inside of an animal you don't have to, but I'm sure there are plenty of dying people around the world who would jump at the chance to extend their lives. Condemning and stalling research like this is resulting in the deaths of people who could be saved from its benefits.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But even if the clever scientists find a way of growing the organ without resort to suppressant drugs...

The condescending way in which this is written reveals your attitude to science - you don't see them as dedicated researchers working towards saving who knows how many lives, but rather as harebrained loons playing with their little chemistry sets and thinking they're clever, don't you?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It did make me cringe a bit at first, but hope this research succeeds, as it could save lives, including mine, at some time in the future.

I can only guess, but one of the reasons for using animals and not test tubes, is that it's probably difficult to grow a correctly functioning organ without putting it under a load preforming it's original functions. Even if you manage to grow an organ in a tube, it might be too weak to do any good once transplanted.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Go for it I say. If even 1 life is saved due to this experiment, it will be worth it.

Obviously history has taught you nothing. I'm just trying to remind people that even the slightest thing used for the betterment of all can quite equally be misused for the destruction of all. As the signs say, "Proceed with caution."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

let there be chimeras, and it was the sixth day

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And all the freaks could be banished to a spooky, jungle island with one law: Not to shed blood on the island!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

These creepy biological science types make reptiles and insects look good. I really hate this stuff and I'm going to make a card and put it in my wallet saying 'No life saving transplants please'. Let me die.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The development of medicine is a key to the future of humanity. For example the decline of infant mortality is one of the reasons for humanity development since XIXth century.

I personally had a few traumatic experiences associated with health during my childhood (such as phimosis and burst appendix - probably because of genetic factors, since both of my sisters had their appendix operated as well). If it wasn't for medicine I would have died from peritonitis caused by burst appendix in 2003 (thanks to an immediate surgery I am still alive and I just have an 8 stitch scar on my belly).

I approve every research which makes human life a bit better. Imagine yourself - if people stopped Michelangelo from doing his research on human anatomy, we wouldn't have the basic knowledge about human organs. Well, someone has to do these things, even if they are gross. Some sacrifice is needed to improve medicine. But of course I think about a meaningful improvement, such as growing organs for people who need them not making soap from human fat, or pointless tortures of animals because of ritual slaughter practiced in some religions.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

There is probably a word limit that wouldn't allow me to fully share my ideas on this.

The best summary I can come up with is something like;

Fully support though would prefer if a medically and/or scientifically trained board was established to monitor and report on the methods and the outcomes regularly. I wished we lived in a world where the next statement wasn't required: it goes without saying but clearly religious input is unnessasary.. And unwanted.

Humankind is slowly but surely removing those shackles and we are all the better for it.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Unlike in the United States, there is little public opposition to research of this kind, with domestic media coverage overwhelmingly positive, reflecting relatively high levels of scientific literacy in the country.

Um, no. Reflecting high levels of public apathy, a manipulative domestic media and, well, thats it actually.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

ChibaChick that is a good point. Actually, the reason for this type of research is because so few Japanese are willing to donate their organs. The Japanese are in fact a lot more hung up about this subject than people in other nations and i think that is great.

As regards the contribution of medical science to the future of humanity. If the population explosion doesn:t actually end up wiping us out completely, it is certainly going to reduce quality of life in generations to come. Oh right. Science will come up with a fix. No need to hold your breath for that we are a lot closer to extinction than you realise.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I find it slightly curious that quite a few people in Japan are against Genetically Modified crops, fruit and veges, etc - yet this far more radical technology seemingly has "little opposition".

I'd consider myself a neutral on this right now - though a previous Japanese girlfriend did describe me as "half-man, half-horse" for some reason...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No need to hold your breath for that we are a lot closer to extinction than you realize.

These chimeras have been around for quite some time. GM Atlantic salmon the being the most popular.

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/35789/title/GM-Salmon-and-Wild-Fish-Can-Reproduce/

FireFly genes in plants. (soon all our plants will be glowing) http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/35864/title/Debate-over-Glowing-Plants-Grows/

==> Absolutely hell-bent. But think of the positives they say.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not against this at all, but not sure if humanity deserves a better future.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Move over Godzilla! Hogman is coming!

Manbearpig. Half man, half bear, half pig...

In my rather unimportant opinion...this is wrong on almost every level.

Explain why, please.

I agree with notlateja. As far as I can see, there is nothing to discuss, it crosses way too many lines that should not be crossed.

No, it doesn't.

-1 ( +5 / -7 )

I rather would see them looking at organic 3d printing but this is a good stepping stone. Sadly we all know that one again the religious will prevent progresses.

As I said above, I don't oppose this on religious grounds but on animal welfare grounds. It's just wrong.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

How long will it be before someone tries to grow a complete human being? It's only a step or two beyond this? This was depicted in the film Island - just substitute agnate for chimera....

-2 ( +1 / -2 )

The hope is that this stem cell will grow into a fully-functioning human organ—a kidney or a liver, for example—as the animal matures.

So we could have whales with human brains?

Or better yet, I guess we have to assume that it works the other way around as well. So we can have humans with hoofs, goat beards, elephant trunks, lobster claws and bullhorns? Sweet !

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Figures, some scientists excuse ethics out the window to "do good" for the "betterment of all" only to have it blow up in their faces and used for all means of nefarious purposes. Hell, if we can successfully transplant a pig heart in a human being, why not just start seeing if we can make a part human part wolf hybrid just to satisfy curiousity?

I'd feel a bit safer if they'd start working on developing synthetic cell chambers that will grow human bits and pieces without using some poor animal (including humans) that will be gutted for needed items.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

a method to be growing human organs inside of a pig that is already going to be slaughtered for its meat

Any animal engineered to have a human organ growing inside it would be pumped so full of drugs to stop its body rejecting the foreign body that the meat would be inedible. But even if the clever scientists find a way of growing the organ without resort to suppressant drugs, there is nothing at all humane in reducing an animal to no more than an organic test-tube. 'It's going to die anyway' is no excuse. We're all going to die anyway, including the people waiting for organs.

Grow human bits in a petri dish, test tube or organic soup bowl if you must, but not parasitically inside the body of a living animal.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Move over Godzilla! Hogman is coming!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I agree with notlateja. As far as I can see, there is nothing to discuss, it crosses way too many lines that should not be crossed.

-3 ( +6 / -7 )

That's just sick. Might as well harvest their own children for organs since ethical biology means nothing to them

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Thats just wrong. Funny the same people supporting this evil science were only just recently crying about poor little whales! You guys make me laugh.

Sure you want to have rat dna and blood be my guest!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

So long evolution for the humanity to finally.... cross with the animals and mix dna ? Not to mention all the new diseases and new viruses that those people are going to create..watch out for the next man made disaster, maybe not nuclear this time.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Well Here Comes Bestiality, Humanoids and Crosses Was once Science Fiction now some clots want to make it real well Look at This way Once a life form is created and survives then Cell culture is used for cloning Japan Can make A cockroach mutant Human that can repair Nuclear reactor's without the Problems Of the Workers Dying But Imagine The breading of these Things Later They would out populate the World in no time as They are Prolific Breeders That Have Been on this Earth Longer than man. Come on Science Come up With Some Humanoids to do the same,

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Don't ask... Do it!

-11 ( +1 / -11 )

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