Monday, June 19, 2006

St Kitt's or the Island of Dr. Moreau?

On the sun-splashed Caribbean island of St. Kitts, Yale University researchers are injecting millions of human brain cells into the heads of monkeys afflicted with Parkinson's disease.
In China, there are 29 goats running around on a farm with human cells coursing through their organs, a result of scientists dropping human blood cells into goat embryos.
The mixing of human and animal cells in the name of medicine has been going on for decades. People are walking around with pig valves in their hearts and scientists have routinely injected human cells into lab mice to mimic diseases.
But the research is becoming increasingly exotic as scientists work with the brains of mice, monkeys and other mammals and begin fiddling with the hot-button issue of cloning. Harvard University researchers are attempting to clone human embryonic cells in rabbit eggs.
Such work has triggered protests from social conservatives and others who fear the blurring of species lines, invoking the image of the chimera of Greek mythology, a monstrous mix of lion, goat and serpent.
During his State of the Union speech in January, President Bush called for a ban on "human cloning in all its forms" and "human-animal hybrids," labeling it one of the "most egregious abuses of medical research."
He didn't elaborate, but scientists working in the field believe that by "hybrids," the president meant creating living animals with human traits - something they say they aren't doing.
Other critics are calling for stricter regulations on the research.

1 comment:

Kevin T. Keith said...

Hmmm . . .

This requires close and lengthy monitoring. For the good of the bioethics community and the world, I will undertake the burden of serving as St. Kitts ethicist-in-residence, as soon as the position is funded.