Monday, March 26, 2007

Half human organ transplants?

I'm no Luddite but this creeps me out.
Scientists have created the world's first human-sheep chimera - which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs.

The sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells - and their evolution brings the prospect of animal organs being transplanted into humans one step closer.

He has already created a sheep liver which has a large proportion of human cells and eventually hopes to precisely match a sheep to a transplant patient, using their own stem cells to create their own flock of sheep.
I'm all for stem cell research but somehow I would be more comfortable with growing new organs in petri dishes. The idea of cross-species research just conjures up visions of half-human movie monsters. I think I prefer a Brave New World scenario to a new Island of Dr. Moreau style uprising of wickedly modified creatures.


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Blogger nolocontendere said...

They're developing the perfect voter.

10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

LOL Nolo. Good point...

12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

our grandchildren will be electing the first chimera president

wv = evmil

2:42:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Lester, that is a truly scary thought.

3:44:00 PM  
Blogger whig said...

I'm pretty squicked by this too. Not sure it can be stopped, however. Even if you pass laws against it, scientists will work on it secretly now that it's been shown possible.

5:06:00 PM  
Blogger whig said...

Or more to the point, they will be permitted to study it in some places, not others. I expect that those seeking organ farms have a strong financial incentive to set up in the third world if necessary, but they will make their creations.

5:07:00 PM  
Blogger whig said...

I'd like a regulatory system to be established for this, a way to keep it under some kind of responsible control. If it is reasonable and appropriate it could be done voluntarily.

5:09:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Whig, the whole thing just makes me squeamy and I don't think you can regulate it voluntarily or not. People will break the rules one way or the other for the money but the possible ramifications of mutated viruses and whatnot seems to me to be too great a risk.

I'm all for saving lives but I also think we've gone too far in prolonging it with science. Cheating death is a loser's game in the long run. Better to live your life well while you have it.

5:47:00 PM  

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