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UK Researchers Urge Regulations For Animal-Human Genetic Hybrids


According to a report from Britain’s Academy of Medical Sciences, new rules should be enforced on experiments where human genes or cells are inserted in animals, as a way to cut down on the risk of creating “monsters.”

Human-animal gene hybrids may not be creating Lochness Monsters, but humanizing animals for the sake of medical science research does pose possible risks in regard to the future of species, and just how far science can, and should, go down this path.

Injecting human cells into goat fetuses and creating mice with human brain cells have been introduced to science by Chinese researchers, but before any of these experiments move further forward, researchers believe there must be a strict set of rules and regulations in order to make sure each step of the process is controlled and assessed.

These British researchers believe the main concern is when the brain of an animal is involved, and reproductive features of humans that create human skin, speech or facial features are injected into brain matter. They would like government bodies to oversee these types of research, making sure they are done in safe, controlled environments.

If you’re wondering why scientists are taking this approach in the first place, injecting human cells into animals is actually not that new. While big discoveries could lead to breakthroughs in cancer cures, animal-human hybrids have played a leading role in the creation of infertility treatments. The very first clinical trial for stroke patients was also done through one of these procedures, testing human brain cells on rats.

While polls from the public typically support and understood the importance of testing when it comes to cancer and other incurable diseases, there were concerns about fertilizing human eggs, injecting sperm or giving animals human characteristics.

What do you think? If it doesn’t happen in nature, should we leave it be? Or should there be no boundaries when it comes to mixing humans and animals if the technology is there?

via Reuters and Singularity Hub
Image CC licensed by micahb37: DNA

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