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Biotech Government It's funny.  Laugh. Politics

Louisiana Rep. Preps State Bill Banning Human-Animal Hybrids 422

mikeljnola writes with an excerpt from NOLA.com that says state senator Danny Martiny (R-Kenner) will introduce a bill to the Louisiana legislature on April 27 to "'make it illegal to "create or attempt to create a human-animal hybrid, ... transfer or attempt to transfer a human embryo into a non-human womb ... (or) transfer or attempt to transfer a non-human embryo into a human womb."' With budget cuts all around, our struggling state is concerned with the eminent danger of human-animal hybrids. The upside is that the odds of the Louisiana becoming the Bayous of Dr. Boudreaux are now even slimmer."
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Louisiana Rep. Preps State Bill Banning Human-Animal Hybrids

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 17, 2009 @11:35AM (#27614025)

    As they say, "It's the thought that counts." In this case, the thought is "What can we pass that will have no significant effect on anything in the state other than making us look better to a certain portion of our electorate?" It's a safe way of soliciting votes.

    Personally, I would much rather we do something productive, such as codifying right-arm signaling for right turns on bicycles, passing a "complete streets" bill, or repealing RS 32:197(C).

  • by MeanMF ( 631837 ) * on Friday April 17, 2009 @11:41AM (#27614167) Homepage
    Bacteria are not technically classified as animals, so the new law would not affect them. Human/tree and human/mushroom hybrids would also still be legal.
  • by gringofrijolero ( 1489395 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @11:43AM (#27614237) Journal

    ...House Bill 517 that would protect from being fired or demoted people who refuse to participate in any health care practice that violates their conscience...

    Now way! You serve everybody without prejudice. If you can't/won't, then find another line of work. I don't want witch doctors in the operating room. I can go to the mountains for that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 17, 2009 @11:56AM (#27614551)

    Gotta love the Catholic Church, the bastions of innovation and human progress that they are. Not.

    WTF does the Catholic Church have to do with this? Yes, the bill was suggested by a Catholic bishop, but given that the Catholic Church accepts Evolution and the Protestant faiths do not, I know which faith I'd rather have influencing law makers.

    This law is at least based on ethics, as opposed to Protestant laws which are made to try and force their beliefs onto everyone. (Like, say, Prohibition, a law designed explicitly to attack Catholic Irish. Or any of the more recent laws demanding the teaching of "intelligent design.")

    My point is that while the Catholic Church does do some anti-science things, they can't hold a candle to the anti-science that comes from Protestants. Calling them out and not calling out the even more anti-science Protestants simply isn't fair. After all, if the Protestants had their way, stem cell research would be banned completely.

  • by IndustrialComplex ( 975015 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:10PM (#27614831)

    I am not a female, but I seem to notice that women do seem to be pretty able to handle their workforce chores quite well during the gestation period. It's the time they need after the little squirt comes out that makes them need to take a few extra days off.

    As my wife is currently near 7 months and still working. I'll point out some of the observations of my wife:

    1. She feels forgetful. Enough to notice that there is a difference.
    2. She has to keep her feet elevated (not much of an issue)
    3. She had to get a different vehicle as she was getting too close to the wheel. (Nissan Murano with adjustable pedals helped a lot)
    4. Distractions, and there is a lot of extra work to do. Even though I pretty much take care of everything at home now, there are still things that take up time.

    Then comes the risk of being ordered home from work. My mother was sent home a month early when I was born. Then if a C-section is required, you can expect to not return up to 12 weeks from the birth.

    It's not so much of a hurt on your career, but it basically takes a 6 month chunk out of time where you could be performing (impressing the boss).

  • Re:Surprising (Score:5, Informative)

    by omfglearntoplay ( 1163771 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:13PM (#27614917)

    Actually LSU is probably has one of the most advanced agricultural research centers around. There's the old tour with the living cow with the hole in its side for tourists to put their hand in a living stomach (fun for the family!) and other scary things. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the fuckers was working on a pig with a human head or something.

    Don't be a tool and think that everybody in the southern states is an uneducated freak.

  • by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:17PM (#27614989)

    Gotta love the Catholic Church, the bastions of innovation and human progress that they are. Not.

    Louisiana is a majority baptist area. If you're going to bash Christian sects, at least have the decency to pick the right one!


  • by lazyforker ( 957705 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:18PM (#27615031)
    The question "What is a human?" was recently answered: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/584833 [medscape.com]
    The Human Ecosystem, Posted 12/23/2008, Matthew Child; George Macfarlane

    Genetic analysis shows that our gastrointestinal tracts are home to more than 100 000 billion (1014) individual micro-organisms of perhaps 36 000 different species. And more than 90% of the cells in our bodies are non-human.[1] These bacteria form a diverse and complex ecosystem with a total gene pool (microbiome) more than 100 times larger than the human genome -- in effect we are hybrid "superorganisms." The types and numbers of bacteria differ from the stomach to the distal colon, reflecting the changes in pH, concentration of oxygen, and availability of nutrients. Small numbers persist in the stomach (notably Helicobacter pylori, which causes ulcers) and the small intestine, but most of these organisms are found in the anaerobic environment of the large intestine ( Table ).

    To see the full article you need some kind of login which I don't have, but SlashDot had a similar story a couple of days ago: http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/04/15/0252219 [slashdot.org]

    So I think there's a lot of tough questions to ask before allowing legislation like this to pass. We can't even define "human" very well, and we already appear to be hybrids (mitochondrial DNA etc).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:40PM (#27615517)

    You know what else that list has in common?

    All those names involved people who died more than a century ago.

    The fact remains that the modern Catholic church is quite open to science.

    As opposed to the modern Protestant church, which remains quite closed to science.

    Of course, both statements are relative, but it's not fair to just pick on Catholics when Catholics are by far one of the most open faiths when it comes to science, especially compared to other larger faiths in the US.

    Don't forget, the modern Catholic church supports evolution. The modern Protestant church continues to push for the teaching of "intelligent design".

  • Re:Damn (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:57PM (#27615833)

    Seriously? do we really want to go down this route? We've already screwed with the planet and life enough. Do we really need to screw with it more and more by allowing human/animal hybrids?

    We already have them. They're called "transgenic mice" and we use them for research. We also have bacteria with human genes too. They make insulin for diabetic people, etc.

  • by Emor dNilapasi ( 455542 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @01:00PM (#27615897)

    Humulin ("Human Insulin") is produced by a recombinant DNA process which transferred the gene for human insulin production into a variety of e. coli, and was approved by the FDA in 1982 (http://www.biology.iupui.edu/biocourses/n100/goodfor5.html [iupui.edu]). The bottom line is that we've been making human-animal hybrids for decades, they already treat some diseases and hold great promise in treating more, and legislation such as this only reinforces the image of Louisiana as a Luddite backwater.

  • Re:Damn (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 17, 2009 @01:21PM (#27616401)

    Babies are easy to assemble

    And fun too!

  • Re:Damn (Score:3, Informative)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @02:00PM (#27617123)

    When my wife was pregnant with our first child, she asked me very seriously how I would respond if something went wrong and the doctor told me that he could only save either her or our child (she watches too much TV)

    That's not a TV fiction (although the doctors usually make the choice to save the mother and coerce the emotionally destabilized husband into thinking he made the decision). In cases of preeclampsia, it often is a "Mom or Baby" decision, and Baby's usually too premature to live.

  • Re:Damn (Score:3, Informative)

    by Thaelon ( 250687 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @02:03PM (#27617173)

    It's why you can calm a baby by placing it close to your chest, it hears the heart beat again.

    Surely it couldn't be the baby is also warm, cushioned (boobs, yay), and comfortable being held.

    The law prohibits using animal wombs for human babies. You seem to have something mechanical in mind. I imagine that a sheep or pig womb (biologically very similar to humans) would probably handle a human embryo just fine. Sheep wombs have been making sheep babies for about the same amount of time as human wombs have been making human babies.

    What if out of this proactively banned research we were able to save babies' lives because the they can be transplanted into sheep? It would not an abomination, or some frankensteinian sheep-baby, it would be a perfectly normal human that happened to gestate in an unusual place. A baby's genetics (and therefore all characterstics aside from birth defects) are determined at conception, not gestation. So it wouldn't matter what womb the baby formed in, it would still be completely human if it was conceived with human sperm and ova.

    The mother's body (kidney, hearts, lungs, livers) act as the baby's for the first 9 months. We haven't perfected artificial copies of those yet, so what is the artificial womb supposed to do? We're already seeing problems where a constant flow motor in place of a heart causes problems in the rest of the body that had grown accustom to a (1/60) Hz throbbing.

    Who said it was artifical? The law is talking about animal wombs. One, almost no human heart rate is 1/60hz. Two, it's not that regular most of the time. "accomstomed" is a very vague and unscientific term. The human body is very capable of becoming "accostomed" to all sorts of new conditions. Three, you cited absolutely no evidence. I would hazard a guess that a pulsing pump was simply the best natured could come up with as a substitute for a constant flow. It works because the body has adapted to it, as is proven by the fact that blood flow can be completely stopped for minutes without any detectable damage. People have heart attacks every day, or heart murmors where bloodflow ceases and the body lives anyway. So you have it rather backwards. It's not that the body has become "accostomed" to ~1/60hz or so, but rather the body has evolved to be able to handle intermittent flow.

    Artificial / Cow milk is no substitute for breast milk during young development.

    Wrong. You can raise a baby just fine without any milk whatsoever. Many women can't breast feed at all, and so the baby never had any human milk and they turned out just fine.

    The fatty chains and stuff can't be replicated by any formula

    Yet. There's nothing magical about it, stop pretending that there's some unquantifiable characteristic in any aspect of conception, gestation, or birth. There isn't. It's only that we may not understand some aspects yet.

    what makes them think that the fluids the mother and baby exchange?

    What makes you think there's something special about a chemical process that we'll never be able to replicate it?

    The human body is an infinitely complex system of feedback loops and control systems. I can't ever see us getting this right artificially. If the baby is low on X, the mothers body will give it more X.

    Again, you seem to be attributing magical unfathomable properties to the birth process. Also, I do not think that word means what you think that it means. Infinity as far as we know is a completely made up mathematical concept that doesn't actually occur in reality. Again, nothing magical. Just problems we haven't solved yet. And there's no scientific proof that a mother's body automatically follows with providing whatever the baby needs. In ord

  • by PJ1216 ( 1063738 ) * on Friday April 17, 2009 @02:53PM (#27618057)
    Its not as difficult as you'd expect. Here's some simple requirements:
    1) Not genetically altered by mankind
    2) Parents are human
    3) Conceived traditionally or by any of the means that have been approved in section bloopitybloop.

    You don't have to categorize by that genes they have, just classify them by where they came from. Its much easier.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 17, 2009 @03:12PM (#27618369)

    "...given the Catholic Church accepts Evolution and the Protestant faiths do not ..."

    That's not true. Most mainstream Protestant denominations are fully accepting of evolution and other findings of modern science. I can speak with certainty that my own church (Presbyterian Church-USA) accepts evolution, and AFAIK several other large denominations (Methodists, Episcopalians) share essentially the same theology.

    I do know that many Baptist churches reject evolution, and they make up a large portion of Protestants in the US, but by no means all Protestants are anti-science.

  • by lwsimon ( 724555 ) <lyndsy@lyndsysimon.com> on Friday April 17, 2009 @03:15PM (#27618425) Homepage Journal

    As an attendee of one of the tea party events, I can assure you that the "movement" nor the individual event I attended was organized by the Republican party.

    The one at my capitol was organized by a libertarian with no affiliation. He voted for Baldwin the last cycle.

  • Re:Religion (Score:3, Informative)

    by LionMage ( 318500 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @03:15PM (#27618429) Homepage

    This is the second time someone has brought up the whole Baptist thing (that I've seen).

    You do remember your history, right? You know what the Louisiana Purchase is, and where we bought that land from, right? You know the people settled there were French, and most French people (even in the New World) are Catholic, right?

    Here are two sources for demographic data: Wikipedia's Louisiana article [wikipedia.org] and this blog entry summarizing a survey [blogspot.com]. If you believe Wikipedia, then 30% of Louisiana is Catholic overall, and 38% is Baptist -- not that this is all Baptist groups, not just one group calling itself Baptist. If you believe the survey, then 28% of the state's population is Catholic, and 31% is "evangelical," which includes Baptists -- again, this category is a catch-all, and isn't just one group calling itself Baptist.

    So while the Catholic Church is considered one monolithic organization, the Baptists are not. That's another thing to consider when looking at those numbers.

    As the person to whom you responded wrote, the Catholic population is heavy in the south of the state... which should be no big surprise, as that's where New Orleans is.

    Not sure why you'd conflate Creole and Baptist. Creole could just as likely mean a practitioner of Voodoo (seriously) as a member of any other religion. That said, most Creole who practice Voodoo are also nominally Catholics.

    Again, the relevance here is that the Catholic Church is very obviously sponsoring this legislation. The Archbishop specifically petitioned for it, as did the Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    Your "out of touch" comments are spot-on. This is really just pandering to a particular religious group. I suspect if this passes, someone in Louisiana is going to get convicted for violating this law in a way that nobody foresaw... causing a great outcry from some quarters to either repeal or modify the law. But by that point, it'll be too late.

  • Re:Surprising (Score:3, Informative)

    by rts008 ( 812749 ) on Friday April 17, 2009 @05:19PM (#27620167) Journal

    ...with the living cow with the hole in its side for tourists to put their hand in a living stomach (fun for the family!)...

    The purpose is not for tourist's entertainment.

    Most Universities with a Veterinary Medicine program will have a cow with a 'cannula' into it's rumen [wikipedia.org] as a means to extract some of the fluid content for the clinical treatment of other bovine patients that have suffered some digestive disease, or (frequently) after treatment with antibiotics(which kill rumen flora, unabling the cow to digest their food).

    How it usually works:
    You have 'Bessie' the donor cow. She has a 'hole' in her side as you say. (cannula into her rumen)

    You also have 'Gertrude', who has been a patient receiving antibiotics in treatment. She is 'getting better' and the antibiotic treatment ceases.
    Your treatment has killed off most of the natural microbes that help Gertrude ferment(start digestion) of her food she eats. Left on her own, she may starve to death no matter how much she eats.

    Enter Bessie to the rescue. You remove the plug in the cannula(it may have been removed for your tour, but normally the plug is kept in place), extract several gallons of rumen fluid(chock full of healthy microbe goodness), and 'tube feed' it to Gertrude.
    You also replace Bessie's rumen fluid with equal amount of warm water, and replace the plug.

    Gertrude can now continue living and eating thanks to the hole in Bessie's side!

    Not some 'mad scientist crazy experiment', but sound, helpful, humane medicine. I used to have to deal with this attitude from people all the time when I worked at the Vet Med Teaching Hospital at the University here.

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.