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Biotech Medicine Science

UK Approves Human-Pig Embryo Stem-Cell Harvest 139

Posted by timothy
from the but-I-know-plenty-of-half-pig-humans dept.
An anonymous reader writes "British biologists have received government approval to create the world's first human stem cells from hybrid embryos, part pig, part human. The Warwick Medical School team, led by Justin St. John of the Clinical Sciences Research Institute, was granted the country's third animal-human embryo license from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which goes into effect today (July 1)." The above link requires (free) registration; the Telegraph's coverage does not.
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UK Approves Human-Pig Embryo Stem-Cell Harvest

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  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:03PM (#24019097) Homepage Journal

    I *do* taste like bacon [slashdot.org]! Why do you ask?

  • But... (Score:4, Funny)

    by snl2587 (1177409) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:03PM (#24019109)
    Why not half man and half bearpig? That's the approval we're looking for!
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Boy, that joke never stops being just as funny as it was when it was actually on South Park.

    • by WCLPeter (202497)

      Why not half man and half bearpig?

      Because the world doesn't need another Ron Jeremy.

      Now a half woman half cat that looks like Jessica Biel in a sexy leotard? Snarf!!

    • OT: the game (Score:3, Informative)

      by FiloEleven (602040)

      God dammit! I *did* just lose the game, and I had a winning streak of close to 4 years, my personal best!

      At least I know I'll be bringing other people down with me.

  • by jhfry (829244) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:04PM (#24019131)

    I can't wait until my kid takes highschool biology and has to dissect a pig-man embryo.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:07PM (#24019191)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Since this is one more step towards the unholy creation of ManBearPig, who will hopefully die by Global Warming before he can kill us all.

    On a more serious note, I'm just glad its not human embryos inside of pig cells they're toying with, it's just weird, not intrinsically immoral: they aren't killing anybody.

  • god shmod i want my pig man!
  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:10PM (#24019235)

    The summary seems to imply that they are creating embryos which combine genetic material from humans and pigs. The article, on the other hand, says that they are taking 100% human DNA and implanting them into pig egg cells which have had their DNA removed. I think it's safe to to say that there is a huge difference between the two ideas.

    • by Bandman (86149) <bandman AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:25PM (#24019469) Homepage

      Yes. One definitely prevents someone from tasting like bacon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SBacks (1286786)

      The summary seems to imply that they are creating embryos which combine genetic material from humans and pigs. The article, on the other hand, says that they are taking 100% human DNA and implanting them into pig egg cells which have had their DNA removed. I think it's safe to to say that there is a huge difference between the two ideas.

      That may be true. But, its much more exciting to talk about manpigs than to talk about the similarities between a pig egg cell and a human egg cell.

    • by stranger_to_himself (1132241) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:28PM (#24019533) Journal

      The summary seems to imply that they are creating embryos which combine genetic material from humans and pigs. The article, on the other hand, says that they are taking 100% human DNA and implanting them into pig egg cells which have had their DNA removed. I think it's safe to to say that there is a huge difference between the two ideas.

      They would still have pig mitochondrial DNA, even if the nuclear DNA was all replaced.

    • Also to add: "They would not be used for stem cell treatments of patients because of concerns about disease and because cybrid cells may still contain rabbit DNA in mitochondria, the "batteries" of the cell. The few rabbit genes present may generate proteins that would be attacked by the human immune system, for example." A sublink from Telegraph [telegraph.co.uk] As this is a research only venture, and these stems cells are not being allowed to survive beyond the first stages of developement or used in humans, hopefully t
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      What is being created here is a cytoplasmic hybrid embryo, where the cells nucleus is fully human DNA, but the cells mitochondria is not replaced and that has a DNA signature of its own, meaning that the cells reproduce as human, but the embryos themselves are only considered to be 99.9% human, and 0.1% animal.
      • by Schemat1c (464768) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:57PM (#24020021) Homepage

        ...but the embryos themselves are only considered to be 99.9% human, and 0.1% animal.

        Aren't humans also animals?

        • How dare you consider humans in the same class as animals! After all, we humans have created a utopia and achieved world peace, unlike those animals that can't find the decency to use a bathroom.
        • by ardle (523599)
          Suppose it'd be more useful to use 99.9% human/0.1% non-human - but that includes non-animal, doesn't it. Maybe "99.9% winner/0.1% loser" or "99.9% survivor/0.1% doomed"? ;-)
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          ...And isn't it odd that these blasphemous crimes against nature are spearheaded by a man with the saintly name of Justin St. John [warwick.ac.uk]?
        • by roman_mir (125474)

          some more so than others.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Aren't humans also animals?

          Yes, they are scientifically classified as animals. In the common meaning of the term, though, they aren't.

          It's like seeing a chart comparing "Mexicans", "Canadians", and "Americans". You know what the latter refers to, despite the fact that all of the three groups live in the North American continent.

          It might be more technically correct to go back to using the term "beast" to refer to non-human animals, but it makes people look at you funny nowadays.

      • What is being created here is a cytoplasmic hybrid embryo, where the cells nucleus is fully human DNA, but the cells mitochondria is not replaced and that has a DNA signature of its own, meaning that the cells reproduce as human, but the embryos themselves are only considered to be 99.9% human, and 0.1% animal.

        OCP don't count these hybrids as human though. Legally they are swine.

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      The article, on the other hand, says that they are taking 100% human DNA and implanting them into pig egg cells which have had their DNA removed.

      And not just the nuclear DNA, but also the mitochondrial DNA is replaced.

      Still, if you could do the same to a plant cell which has a distinctly different cell structure, would you still consider the resulting cells human or not?

      Is a Mac Pro running Windows natively a Macintosh or a PC? What if you replace the firmware with a PC BIOS to make it even more compatible?

    • Meh, we have been doing this in the US for years. Look at all the fat people with tons of kids!
      • Meh, we have been doing this in the US for years. Look at all the fat people with tons of kids!


        It would be less distressing if the "tons" were spread across more than two or three kids.

    • If I understand correctly that should be just like harvesting stem cells from human embryos, while sidestepping the right-wing-religious nutjobs who have a problem with destroying human embryos, 'cuz the embryos came from pigs! Sweet!

      Just don't let those wackos know they'll basically be identical to human embryos ;) (again, if I understand correctly) Onward with science! :D

  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:11PM (#24019243) Homepage

    I can't wait until this technology becomes available on the mass market.
    I'm going to release all my hybrids under the GPL because I like to give back to the community.

  • Haven't these people read The Island of Dr. Moreau?
    • by tepples (727027)

      Haven't these people read The Island of Dr. Moreau?

      Worse yet, haven't these people played Animal Crossing?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Farmer Tim (530755)

      I've only leafed through the brochures myself, but the wild life tour sounds good.

    • by msu320 (1084789)
      Read? it's hard enough to get /.ers to RTFA... and you ask them to read a book?
  • With half human half pig people :)
    • by querist (97166)

      I can't cite any "Old" Dr. Who examples, but...

      Series 1 "Aliens in London" or "World War Three". I don't remember which - but it was the "alien" created by the Slitheen to pilot the ship into Big Ben. Not a hybrid, but more of an anthromorphosed pig.

      Series 3 "Daleks in Manhattan" and "Evolution of the Daleks", the "Pig-slaves", which were genetically modified humans, altered by the Daleks (specifically the Cult of Skaro) for use in the their (failed) plan to take over the Earth.

    • I thought the same thing. Are we going to have pig-people among us now? New DNA defects? The possible horror is endless. I have to say I support stem-cell research in general, but this is a bit weird. Is it just a loophole to harvest stem cells from humans?
  • I, for one, welcome our new Pig-Boy Overlords.
  • by snspdaarf (1314399) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:20PM (#24019359)
    .... It's Leisure Suit Larry on Ladies Night!
  • by jbeaupre (752124) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:24PM (#24019455)
    All this experimenting is going to ruin traditional long pork.
  • Seinfeld (Score:4, Funny)

    by clang_jangle (975789) * on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:26PM (#24019497) Journal
    He's a Pig man, I tell ya Jerry, I saw him!
  • Not so new (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Pfft. This isn't that new.

    I just got pulled over and tasered by a pig-man just this afternoon.

  • Q. Are we not men? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mesa MIke (1193721)

    A. We are Devo!

  • I can foresee some problems with patents and prior art with this, rednecks have been creating hybrid embryos for decades.
  • But... (Score:1, Funny)

    by acecamaro666 (1243364)
    will it be Kosher?
  • It is very well known that human half bear hybrids have excellent flying skills. They make excellent co-pilots for spaceships smuggling contraband evading Imperial battle cruisers. I am glad the Brits are taking the lead and having a Flying Cadet Corps ready and being prepared for the day when we actually will have starships.
  • So we're going to get the bad-ass hyperpigs from Revelation Space now, huh?

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:51PM (#24019919)

    Go and boil your bottom, sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called Arthur King, you and all your silly English k-nnnnniggets. Thpppppt! Thppt! Thppt!
    GALAHAD:
    What a strange person.
    ARTHUR:
    Now look here, my good man--
    FRENCH GUARD:
    I don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

  • by speedtux (1307149) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @02:59PM (#24020055)

    They get the 30 minute orgasms, and they have the hands... well, you get the picture.

    They also get to eat all they want, and they probably don't mind being called "pigs".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @03:07PM (#24020229)

    We got em here in Phoenix. They're 300lbs and ride around on electric scooters.

  • The first pig / bird hybrid, then that'll be the day when a pig really will fly!

  • sick and wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fish_in_the_c (577259) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @03:22PM (#24020447)

    I do favor research into genetics and much of the medical advancement that might be made with it.

    However, even the comments on this board show that people are made uncomfortable by this idea. Mostly jokes, that mask a certain discomfort from what I read.

    The end result of such experimentation with human genomic material is the trivialization of the human person.

    It is precisely that trivialization which has been the cause of every grossly unjust large scale act taken by human beings. The ability to see others as merely raw material to accomplish our goal is an underlying premise in the Nazi holocaust, white separatists movement, in slavery as was practiced in the American south , in the sweat shops of years past.

    This kind of experimentation only re-enforces that idea, that human beings are nothing but animals, so why shouldn't they be treated like them?

    It should not be allowed by any civilized nation and any nation that does allow it has already become less civilized by the very action.

    It is precisely that trivilisation which has been the cause of every grossly injust large scale act taken by human beings. The ability to see others as mearly raw material to accomplish our goal is an underlying premise in the Nazi holocaust, white sepremists movement, in slavery as was practiced in the american south , in the sweat shops of years past.

    This kind of experimentation only re-enforces that idea, that human beings are nothing but animals , so why shouldn't they be treated like them.

    It should not be allowed by any civilized nation and any nation that does allow it has already become less civialized by the very action.

    • The Anthropomorphism of animals will help to offset things this time, maybe we can thanks the furries. Heaven forbid....

    • Re:sick and wrong (Score:4, Interesting)

      by The Creator (4611) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @04:04PM (#24021191) Homepage Journal

      This kind of experimentation only re-enforces that idea, that human beings are nothing but animals

      So what are you suggesting that humans are then?

      • by PachmanP (881352)

        This kind of experimentation only re-enforces that idea, that human beings are nothing but animals

        So what are you suggesting that humans are then?

        Soylent Green? Now with bacon flavor?

      • I'm not suggesting that humans are or are not anything. I'm suggesting that there is a continuum of the value placed on human life.
        on one end human beings and their life, the right to stay alive , regardless of ones state is literally treated as sacred and not even the highest government official or most well meaning scientist has the right to act otherwise.

        On the other side human beings are no different then animals and there is no problem with using them up , as slaves, for experimentation or whatever el

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by VanGarrett (1269030)
      Those who can comprehend the congruities of human and animal genetics, but cannot comprehend that we are set apart from animals by our collective intelligence, ingenuity and sentiences, deserve to be treated as animals. It is only logical to observe that we are constructed of the same materials and by the same processes as our companions on this planet. We are not silicon-based automatons, after all. It would be foolish of us to not exploit these similarities, if we can use them to improve ourselves, altoge
      • And how, precisely, are we set apart?

        Sure, we have language and tool use, but just because we can't ascribe meaning to the languages (albeit simple and restricted) of other species doesn't mean that they aren't sentient.

        Do dogs have a sense of self?

        From the dogs I know, it's pretty evident that they do.

        Birds? Yep - I know some parrots that are definitely individuals, taking a like or dislike to individual humans.

        Pigs? I don't know, as I haven't been exposed to pigs for around 40 years, and the last time I i

        • by PachmanP (881352)

          By your definition, I'm a beast - but then again, I'm proud to be so - a beast with language and tool use.

          Hey that's the line I use on the ladies!!!


          Yes I'm on /. so that is obvously untrue, but darnit it's funny!

      • more to the point, the blurrier this line is made , by technology and law, the more difficult it becomes to make arguments that support treating people better then animals.

        Already in spain, they are attempting to pass a law that grants the 'human rights' to all of the large apes.

        The point it gets down to is. If I can eat a Pig, why can't I eat a man. If I can enslave a pig, why not a man? What makes a man more valuable then a pig, besides what the man can do?

        What if I genetically engineer a pig that can d

    • Why do you insist that the human genetic code is "sacred" or "taboo"? It is a chemical process and nothing more. For that matter -we- are chemical processes and nothing more. If you deny yourself a useful tool simply because it reminds you uncomfortably of your mortality, you have uselessly and pointlessly crippled yourself.

      * Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Looking God in the Eye"

      • because humans are "sacred".
        The less sacred they are the more easily exploited they are. The more easily exploited the less trust individuals in society can have of one another and in the end the fabric of that society is compromised or destroyed.

        Answer me this question. Why should murder be illegal?

    • by Chrisje (471362)

      > The end result of such experimentation with human genomic material is the trivialization of the human person.

      Funny you should mention that. The main problem with this planet is the fact that humans don't see themselves as a trivial part of the cosmos.

      Too many of us put a lot of stock in faiths (be they Jewish, Christian or Islamic) that tell us that we have an imaginary friend called God, Jahweh or Allah who created this world specifically for us and who cares for us only.

      The extreme solipsism this bre

      • by kmac06 (608921)
        Based on your logic, you obviously wouldn't have a problem with raising people and slaughtering them for food. After all, it's just a chemical reaction.
    • This kind of experimentation only re-enforces that idea, that human beings are nothing but animals, so why shouldn't they be treated like them?

      The problem with the holocaust, white separatists, slave traders, Rwandan genocide, etc. isn't the idea that human beings are nothing but animals - it's taking the view that other racial / tribal groups are lesser beings than your Aryan / WASP / slave owner / Hutu group.

      Genetics has nothing to do with the atrocities of the past (eugenics aside) - it's pure and simple

    • Godwin's Law violation detected in line four. Please report to HR for ontological realignment.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For my wife to call me a "pig"

  • Everyone who has seen Malcolm McDowell in "O Lucky man!" wants to know: does this involve the Millar Clinic?
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @04:13PM (#24021357)

    Does anyone see the inherent danger of making a hybrid which could create an evolutionary path for diseases which are isolated in pigs to infect humans and vice versa?

    Humans wiped out by a virus never able to get a grip on human DNA and/or pigs wiped out by viruses never able to infect pigs.

    This is no joke. This stuff is crazy and a real concern. Just because it is a well researched and studied idea, doesn't mean its a good idea.

    Fuck asteroids and global warming, genetic research will wipe us out long before the other methods by which we've been seeking to kill ourselves.

    Now the theological question, does man-pig have a soul? Will it go to heaven? What if it has intelligence? I mean, G. W. Bushpig. couldn't be much smarter.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bob_herrick (784633)
      I think you need to go back and reread the refernce. This article from the UK [telegraph.co.uk] makes it pretty clear that

      We will take skin cells from patients who have a mutation for certain kinds of heart disease (cardiomyopathy, which makes the heart lose its pumping strength) and put them into pig eggs after their chromosomes have been removed. We will then make embryos so that we can attempt to derive embryonic stem cells which will allow us to study some of the molecular mechanisms associated with these heart diseas

      • by mlwmohawk (801821)

        That 'attempt to derive embryonic stem cells' is not going to leave a viable embryo behind. Sorry, no man-pigs, just cells to culture and use for heart repair.

        If the stem cells are used in people there *will* be pig/human hybrid DNA exposed to real viruses. These viruses may quickly adapt to the pig DNA and may be able to infect pigs with human diseases. Worse, maybe viruses infecting pigs will infect the eventual outcome of the stem cells and find a way to adapt to human cells. Thus introducing a virus tha

  • I am moderately surprised that this type of research is still going on/causing such controversy.

    One would think that with all the evidence pointing at things like:

    Multipotential Stem Cells from Menstrual Blood [biotech-weblog.com],
    Menstrual Blood Can Provide Adult Stem Cells [taragana.net],
    Menstrual Blood: A Valuable Source Of Multipotential Stem Cells? [sciencedaily.com],
    Stem Cells Have Utility in Fighting Disease> and [reuters.com]
    New type of stem cell from menstrual blood [upi.com]

    would have convinced these scientists to give up splicing

  • "Killlllllllllll me..."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douche_and_Turd [wikipedia.org]

  • People...this is old news!!!! The actual first human pig embryo was successfully created almost 50 years ago. It even has a photo, check it out: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000102/ [imdb.com]
  • All we need now is approval for Bear embryos and Al Gore's will be right!! - ManBearPig
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ManBearPig/ [wikipedia.org]

    "ManBearPig, half man, half bear, half pig, who roams the Earth and attacks humans".
  • I can not believe this shit.. Some predictions I've read in the past are coming true! f&*k! "armies of half pigs half humans will be sent one day to kill normal humans" science? bull shit.. they will not fear enemy's bullets or knives and will not cry either.. the "perfect soldiers" this is shit.. to all honesty.. 800 more years of this to past the worst though.. in the meantime, we can't do more than watch.. observe how we eat ourselves in our own labs.. and how we exterminate the natural life
  • 3D Realms is waiting for some real Pig-Humans to pose as Pig Cops so as that they can motion-capture them...hmmm...that's perfection!
  • Wasn't this a plot point in "Ghost in the Shell: Man-Machine Interface"? Somebody cloned a bunch of pigs with human DNA in them and used them as a secret brain bank connected to the net or something...

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