Human-Animal Chimeras

27 Jan 2005

I don’t normally cover current events in my blog, but this is so crazy I had to share it.

Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells.

Nice to know that the Chinese aren’t “wussing out” in this cutting edge, ethical minefield. Pigs with human blood, mice with human brains, mice producing human sperm and ova so that a human baby’s parents could be mice… just read the article.

Thanks to Matt for sharing.

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

Comments

  1. I never understood the need to create a breed of half-human-half-animal type of creatures. Don’t these scientist realize that is how some of the diseases are mutated and able to effect humans? Of course their argument would be somehow if human needed replacement parts, then they can grow on animals. But why mess with it at first place?

  2. AMEN!

  3. who needs to breed a humanimal when this is happening?

    http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1257923.html?menu=

    and they spelled shandong province wrong!

  4. As a person who works in the biology/bio-medical field, I am deeply troubled by news like these. This is why stem-cell research is getting a bad name in general. Well, even those of us who do not work on anything close to that, but has the unfortunate luck of being a “biologist” is effected as well. There have got to be line somewhere. They should not creat these unfortunate creatures to be human organ farms. It will make lots of species specific diseases cross that species line so very easy, and we will all be effected very soon by that unfortunate event, if things like these are not stopped.

    No wonder we biologists are frequently referred to as “freaks”!!

  5. One does not possess the wild imagination to create such bizarre creations but if you watch enough movies and play enough video games, you will. If you won’t, the next generation will. Thus the evolution of human interests – good or bad, it’s up to the current generation in power. With greater power comes great responsibility.

    That’s related to the argument about China as a top 3 world superpower. I actually trust America more than I trust China as the #1 superpower in the world. Even if China doesn’t want to be a superpower (it’s been expressed that they don’t), it’s certainly headed that direction.

    I’m reporting from Taipei, Taiwan. Life here is very similar to mainland, but the cost of living is closer to rediculous sky high cost of living in Hong Kong. I am happy to report that my home in California has the best bang for the buck for quality goods and quality lifestyle. So if you want to travel – come to California – we’ll welcome you with open arms.

  6. Da Xiangchang Says: February 1, 2005 at 2:29 am

    Wilson,

    I second your contention: I trust America as a superpower A LOT more than China! However, I trust China as a power a lot more than various other countries, certainly more than the Muslim nations, the African countries, and maybe even a few European powers like Russia and France. In hierarchy of trust, here’s my top 5:

    1) USA
    2) Britain
    3) Australia
    4) Canada
    5) New Zealand

    The English-speaker countries, in other words. Throughout recent history, they’ve shown a rationality, a humanity, AND a willingness to kick major ass that no other bloc of nations can begin to rival.

  7. I have no objection to the number one nomination. But Britan? I hope no future British governments would pull another Opium War.

  8. Da Xiangchang Says: February 1, 2005 at 8:58 am

    Gin,

    Haha, you have a very good point. But I said “recent history”–last 100 years or so in book. And no nation is guitless. I love America to its core, but let’s face it, the Indians and the blacks got royally screwed during much of its history. Of course, you can argue that the Brits behaved very badly when they had their empire, but there’s no comparing the British Empire’s bad deeds with that of the Nazis, Soviets, Japanese, or even the little Belgians in their respective colonies. I guess my central idea is the English-speaking nations, on balance, are far more good than bad–which is very hard to say for other nations. Germany? Russia? China? Come on.

  9. I think we trust those who we know have the same values as us. Hence all the nations Daxiangchang picked mostly orignated culturally and ethnically from Britain, with some regional mixing in…

    Chinese don’t trust western doctors because they don’t share common understandings of what ‘should’ be done… I don’t trust Chinese doctors for the same reason.

    In saying that, the countries that daxiangchang picked are all results of what some sociologists call ‘the protestant work ethic’ and except for Britain have a pioneering background which values hard work and honesty. Yet I wouldn’t say that they are corruption free now… anyone seen the latest corruption list? Last time NZ was about 3rd for least corrupt…

  10. Good point, Kaili, about trusting those who we know have the same values. I would add the obvious that Da Xiangchang’s list consists of countries that have similar present day values.

    Chinese have a saying: ÎïÒÔÀà¾Ó£¬ÈËÒÔȺ·Ö (things stay together that are of a kind, people group who are of a category).

    As to the lack of trust of western doctors, I think it is a matter of lack of access, rather than distrust, to good western doctors. Most Chinese western doctors are not well trained enough and have no great equipment. This is especially so in small cities and rural China. Westeners do not trust Chinese medicine because…. Well, also because lack of study of this softer science and lack of good Chinese medical doctors. Being a softer science, Chinese medicine is extremely dependent on the qualification/skill/experience of the individual practitioner.

    See, I seem to have arrived at the conclusion that distrust is a result of lack of communication and mutual study/understanding. I would propose that the world needs more than one superpower to be stable, if these superpowers communicate with and respect each other. Check and balance is a good thing. Perhaps, one superpower out of each region or continent.

  11. Da Xiangchang Says: February 3, 2005 at 4:34 am

    Good points. But I don’t think distrust is entirely because of a lack of understanding. It’s just some people have different agendas in this world, and all the understanding in the world ain’t going to change someone else’s agenda. The key is to figure out whose agenda makes the most sense and follow that one. With others, try to change their illogical thinking with gentle persuasion, and they don’t change, treat them with complete contempt. If they don’t change and hurts you, FORCE change onto them. This policy makes a lot of sense to me.

    And I TOTALLY DISAGREE that multiple superpowers will stabilize the world more. It really depends on how rational the other superpowers are. Surely, the world wasn’t safer when Europe had its superpowers, whether Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Today, there’s only one superpower, and it’s a much better place. Of course, you have crazy Arabs who want to blow up Western cities, but they’re small fry next to the nuclear monsters of the old Soviet Union.

  12. When there is only one superpower and no check and balance from even a pseudo-superpower, what’s the world to do if the only superpower elects a leader who is or becomes a nutcase with “illogical thinking” and/or a, say, fascist “agenda”? I do fully understand the argument about the current mono-superpower situation being healthy, but the lack of a mechanism to prevent a runaway train ought to worry us a bit.

    Philosophically speaking, the unchecked power can promote responsible behavior on the part of the powerful, but it also potentially can stimulate his extreme agenda real fast. Power is a very potent narcotic. To quote Michael Douglas in Wall Street, ¡°Greed, for lack of a better word, is GOOD.¡± It is only human nature that our great leader might quest: ¡°who¡¯s gonna stop me?¡± Your reply might be: ¡°your own conscience will stop you.¡± Yeah, it would. But along comes out nutcase who goes: ¡°F my own conscience, F the UN, F the vetoes, then, who¡¯s gonna STOP ME?¡±

    Of course, this is all hypothetical argument. Furthermore, how many superpower will exist, is not at all up to us. We can only hope the nutcase never appears.

  13. Da Xiangchang Says: February 4, 2005 at 1:02 am

    Gin,

    True, true. However, such a nightmarish scenario would only work if one person has complete control of the superpower. That is an impossibility in America. There are too many checks and balances: the two-party system, Congress, the media, the Supreme Court, etc. Remember Nixon? Furthermore, America is a VERY stable and wealthy country so the population won’t go all psychotic and elect a maniac. Stable democracies, without exception, don’t produce monsters; unstable democracies do. That’s why I don’t worry about a single superpower since the sole superpower is a stable democracy. Sure, no other country can check America’s power, but America’s own leaders would check it. Of course, if you think Bush is Hitler and the Repubicans the new Nazis, that shows your own warped leftist biases more than any understanding of America.

  14. Gin,

    Hehe, I appreciated your sarcasm, even if some people seem to have missed it totally.

  15. Da Xiangchang Says: February 4, 2005 at 3:49 am

    OOOooohhhh, I get the sarcasm, alright. The nutcase has already arrived in the form of G.W., right? Man, that’s brilliant–and so original too! :p

  16. I have to say honestly that I did not intend to be sarcastic but rather just wanted dramatically to illustrate a serious point. If there was any similarity to Bush’s demeanor it’s not my fault. I’d say it’s his. We all hope that America as the only superpower will always act in the best interest of world peace and progress (unfortunately I have not heard of such phrases for a long time). However, it would be silly to believe that just because a system is democratic it will be absolutely immune from producing monsters. Democracy by definition allow all group and all opinions thus could be manipulated. We have seen examples of manipulation under the guise of patriotism, anticommunism, war, oil, etc. Remember how Japanese Americans were imprisoned during WW2? Da Xianchang’s point that “America is a VERY stable and wealthy country” is a very important one. I agree and appreciate it. However, it is not an impossibility that an unforeseen economical difficulty of some sort might drive this sole superpower into irrational moves, fueled by a nutcase’s manipulations. On that note, may America be blessed with never ending stability and prosperity.

  17. Da Xiangchang Says: February 5, 2005 at 4:37 am

    Of course, it’s not an impossibility that America produces a crazy dictator. But before that ever happens, I’m sure there will be 100 other far crazier dictators popping up in the FAR MORE unstable countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa. If the world ever does become nuts, America will be the last one to go. I’m not only stating my opinion; look at 20th-century history, and you’ll see the proof. And in my humble opinion, America currently IS acting in the “best interest of world peace and progress.” It’s just that a lot of other countries are way too jealous and insecure to admit it. It’s human nature at its more immature: you want the successful guy to fail so your own failures won’t seem so pathetic.

  18. i think it would be cool if they created a half human half monkey, then we could train them to be slaves

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