RISE OF THE BEAST: Scientists Grow Embryo That is Part-Pig, Part-Human

Chimera’ Advances

George Wells wrote an epic novel almost one hundred years ago, The Island of Doctor Moreau respectively and I think they even made a movie about it. Doctor Moreau was a guy who enjoyed playing God by creating human hybrids from animals like pigs, dogs and monkeys using vivisection, or experimental surgery on live animals. The novel was filled with philosophical themes, including cruelty and pain, human identity, moral responsibility and human interference with the nature.

That was one hundred years ago, but today’s news is that scientists from a biological research institute in California (where else?) used cells from pigs and people for creating a hybrid-embryo of sorts that was then “inserted” inside a female pig’s womb. Talking about stretching the boundaries of ethics, this is Mordor-like.

The new hybrid-life or whatchamacallit was allowed to develop inside the pig’s womb for a month.

Izpisua Belmonte (this sounds like a made-up name, right?) who is the leader of the so called research told Futurism magazine:

This is long enough for us to try to understand how the human and pig cells mix together early on without raising ethical concerns about mature chimeric animals. At this point, we wanted to know whether human cells can contribute at all to address the ‘yes or no’ question. Now that we know the answer is yes, our next challenge is to improve efficiency and guide the human cells into forming a particular organ in pigs.

 

In the next step, researchers will resort to genetic modification for editing pig genomes in order to fit human cells in. And if you’re wondering what are these guys up to, well, their quest is to create new life, playing God in so many words, mixing up cells from various species, which will eventually result in a chimera, or an abomination or whatever. Part man, part animal.

And the end game is to grow human-like organs in pigs that will be perfectly suitable for transplants. Pigs are the ideal candidate for this job as their kidneys and heart are already very similar to those of a human.

“The ultimate goal is to grow functional and transplantable tissue or organs, but we are far away from that.

ended Dr. Belmonte

Source: NYT

Photo Source: Wikipedia Commons