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Biotech Science

Human-Animal Hybrids Fail 554

SailorSpork writes "Fans of furries and anime-style cat girls will be disappointed by the news that attempts to create human animal hybrids have failed. Experiments by British scientists to create embryonic stem cells by putting human DNA into cow or rabbit eggs had raised ethical concerns, but the question of how we would treat sub-humans will have to wait until we actually figure out how to make them."
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Human-Animal Hybrids Fail

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  • by greenreaper ( 205818 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @01:17PM (#26712463) Homepage Journal
    Skunk [wikifur.com] included a short comic exploring the result [coolfreepages.com] of getting a catgirl in your bed. It wasn't pretty!
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @01:18PM (#26712495) Journal
    The point of the hybrids mentioned isn't to make freakish movie monsters or vile fringe-wank material; but to substantially lower the cost and difficult of generating and working with stem cells. Getting human DNA is trivial(cheek swab, skin cells, blood, whatever) human sperm is also pretty easy; but obtaining human eggs in any quantity is an unpleasant experience for the donor, requires some costly and potentially risky procedures, and is an all around nuisance. Monkeys might be modestly cheaper; but nonhuman primates are still quite expensive to work with, and are often subject to greater scrutiny than other animals.

    Cows and rabbits are super cheap, and are slaughtered by the thousands all the time. Obtaining needed tissue should be relatively simple. That is the point of the exercise.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @01:46PM (#26713161)

    "The Soul" is not a scientific concept and there is 0 proof it exists. Let's focus on things that we know exist when talking about ethics. Otherwise we can't really have a meaningful discussion.

  • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @02:01PM (#26713475)

    Of course, neither of those is the goal of the research.

    The idea is to create animals that can manufacture various human tissues, whether it's a particular protein, a new heart, or stem cells.

    We used animals to produce insulin for a long time, until someone figured out how to genetically engineer bacteria to produce human insulin, or even modified human insulin with particular properties. Now there's interest in engineering plants to produce human insulin.

  • Oh hell yeah... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:18PM (#26714993)

    Modern armies are increasingly making use of Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAVs) that have high-res thermal cameras on them - and sometimes laser target designators and missiles too.

    Most of the footage is boring, but sometimes interesting stuff happens. And sometimes clips of the interesting stuff leaks out onto the Interwebs.

    These clips are colloquially known as "Predator Porn" - so one day, I and a colleague Googled that term, looking for UAV clips.

    What we got was TOTALLY unexpected.

    It seems there are people out there who really like the movie "Predator". I mean, REALLY like it....



  • Haven't you heard? (Score:3, Informative)

    by greenreaper ( 205818 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:20PM (#26715015) Homepage Journal
  • by nimblebrain ( 683478 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @03:26PM (#26715149) Homepage Journal

    It has been known for a while now that enucleating an egg (i.e. removing its nucleus) and putting the nucleus of an adult cell inside it seems to do somewhat of a reset. This makes a little sense, since mammalian eggs have chemicals and chemical gradients necessary to uncover the right genes to start off the process.

    Given how hard it is to get eggs from humans, other animals would be ideal.

    The thing is, the nuclei of these eggs are removed. There is one thing of the animals' genes that would remain, though: the mitochondria. That's why you can trace just your maternal line through your mitochondria - they are provided almost exclusively by the egg. If this ever gets used for actual cloning, imagine how this could screw up a deep ancestry project!

    Mitochondria do pretty much the same job and have done so for aeons. They do mutate faster, though, so there *might* be other jobs that they are doing for us that are slightly incompatible. On the whole, though, probably not. In the end, chances are that the only fantasy "hybrid" part of this is human cells with animal batteries.

    There's a lot of basic research left to do to see how cow and rabbit eggs (especially the ever-copious rabbit eggs!) differ from human eggs in terms of the chemical environment they provide, but once we figure that out, we will have another avenue of making stem cell equivalents, valuable for all sorts of things including spinal cord repair.

    Cloning is a little different than therapeutic stem cell application would be, however. You cannot just throw cloned 'stem' cells into a body - you will get a teratoma: a disgusting ball of flesh with all the body tissues in it. You need to coax it down other development paths first. You can wait for a cloned embryo to develop and take out that particular kind of tissue, which is where some ethical considerations come in, or you can apply hormones and other chemicals to do the job.

  • by Smight ( 1099639 ) <soulgrindsb@NospAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @06:23PM (#26718065)

    That God explicitly blessed the occasional wiping out of various peoples, basically designating them as subhuman. This also violates the commandment "thou shalt not kill" which is stupidly contradictory. Any child can see the conflict here, which is why they are punished when they discover these flaws, in order to brainwash them into believing your nonsense.

    The Translation of "Lo Tirtzach" into "thou shall not kill" is a loose translation. Some translations use "Thou shall not commit murder" but this translation is more narrowly defined than what tirtzach encompasses. Kill and murder are entirely different words. Something more accurate would be "Do nothing which causes innocent blood to be shed." Tirtzach applies to murders as well as neglect and reckless endangerment. It does not encompass self defense, someone else's defense, killing national enemies, and killing people guilty of capital offenses.

  • by Balance Man ( 1433875 ) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:20PM (#26719341)

    The Bible doesn't actually preclude the existence of other Gods

    Yes it does.

    ...most of the New Testament has little to do with Christ himself (although it makes lots of allusions to him to keep you interested)

    Have you even read the New Testament? It has everything to do with Christ.

    let's face it, if the guy even existed, I don't actually know precisely what he would do.

    It says what he did right on the pages you claim to know so much about. Jesus preached the gospel, healed the sick, performed miracles, and fed thousands of people. His claim to be God directly contradicted Jewish law. the religious leaders asked the Roman government to execute him. In each of several official trials, the Romans found that he was not guilty of breaking any Roman law. Even the Jewish leaders recognized that other than Jesus' claim to be God, Jesus followed the Jewish law perfectly. Still the religious leaders, using the argument of political disfavor, persuaded Pilate, a Roman governor of the Southern province of Israel, to authorize an execution in which he was tortured and killed. However, according to more than 500 witnesses, Jesus returned from the dead three days later, and over the next 40 days journeyed in both the southern and northern provinces of Israel before ascending to Heaven.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein