back to article Fertility watchdogs approve first human-animal hybrids

Two research groups at Newcastle University and King's College London have today been granted the first licences to work on human-animal embryo hybrids. After a consultation, the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority said that research can go ahead because the proposals satisfy all legal requirements and public are "at ease …

COMMENTS

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  1. Jason Harvey
    Paris Hilton

    The first one that "gets lost" and is allowed to mature...

    might be the answer to every otaku's fantasy (pick your favorite anime/manga catgirl)... or something out of some horror flick. it's all up to the boffins now.

    PH for the "pretty" and possibly fantasy angles

  2. Ben Gibson
    Thumb Up

    Sweet

    Bring on Spiderman

  3. Mike Moyle
    Coat

    # Jason

    Looks like it's already happened...

    Clearly, she has the brains of a Chihuahua!

  4. Matt

    Public consultation

    We asked a mate who we knew would agree with us..........

  5. Matty
    Stop

    Here we go then... the slippery downward spiral has begun

    This is a very very dangerous and slippery slope we're on now. We've crossed the line and it's going to be almost impossible to go back again. So what's going to be next? Little by little the 'boundaries' will be erased in the name of science and 'seeking new medical cures'. What happens when something goes wrong and chimera tissue or DNA gets mixed up with human and mutates? It may never happen - I'm no scientist - but what if it does? Sorry - but this is just plain wrong!

  6. TheHempKnight
    Coat

    I thought

    we'd all learned from countless episodes of Star Trek that mixing human genes with anything else = instant monster?

    The impossibly thin and small away-team style jacket please.

  7. Ash
    Black Helicopters

    It's been done before...

    Anyone seen "The Fly?"

  8. Kevin Kenny
    Happy

    @Matty

    I dunno Matty, I can see distinct advantages to being a human/dog hybrid, for example. You'd never be bored again - endless pleasures chewing/chasing sticks, running after cars combined with the ability to read and go to the pub etc. And imagine being able to lick your own balls.

    Kev

  9. Kenneth Ross

    Will the first cure from embryonic stem cell research please stand up....please....anyone?

    We found emotion being pushed to allow embryonic stem cell research. Christopher Reeve, in his wheel chair; Ronald Reagan's son, on his father's Alzheimers condition. All emotive pleas for why we should allow this research. But has it actually helped anyone? No, it hasn't.

    Adult stem-cell work, however, is showing remarkable promise, and many leading researchers who were previously advocates for embryonic stem cell research are now saying that adult, not embryonic is where the future lies.

    So why are we doing this? Because, I fear, too many scientists are only interested in the question "can we?", and are frustrated by those who ask "should we?".

    My background is in medical genetics, my interest now lies in medical ethics.

    I, like the previous poster, (Matty), believe that this is a step too far. Yes, you are right, it is "plain wrong".

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    mmmm

    mmm Natsuki (hyperpolice) ^_^ roll on the catgirls!

    The Fly was down to broken matter transporter.

  11. Ishkandar
    Boffin

    Been done long ago...

    Just look at the human-jackass hybrids that infest the current Cabinet...

  12. Bounty

    Oblivion

    I thought necromancy was banned? (Certainly a nucleus w/o cell, or cell w/o nucleus should be considered dead?) Maybe once they actually start re-animating dead bodies we'll see this in the law. Drowning victims in cold water don't count. If the soul has left (or was never there) is it immoral?

  13. Mike Hocker
    Happy

    Hooray!

    Finally the dead hand of the fundie neoLuddites is loosening.

    Not that injecting human DNA into (non-human) animal oocytes hasn't been done lots of times before, but this is one of the first approved instances I know of.

    (you can get all the equipement you need off eBay you know, or you would know if you studied the science. Add a basement or garage and voila, Dr. Moreau has nothing on homegrown! experimentalists...).

    Next up: when does a chimera have "human" rights?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    14 days?

    I thought God only took 7 to do the full monty - and that included the day spent showering the dirt off.

    // it's the coat with 8 arms and 3 legs and the designer marsupial pouch

  15. Jason Clery
    Black Helicopters

    Dark Angel

    The supersoldiers in Dark Angel where animal spliced humies. I for one welcome our sexy supersoldier overlords.

  16. Garth
    Paris Hilton

    My DNA is not my own!

    "What happens when something goes wrong and chimera tissue or DNA gets mixed up with human and mutates? It may never happen - I'm no scientist - but what if it does? Sorry - but this is just plain wrong!"

    Oh no! What if they create some pathogen that mixes its' DNA with ours and then makes our cells explode one by one!

    You're right, you aren't a scientist. But, more importantly, you're painfully ignorant of the even the slimmest of shreds of the science before condemning it. How quaint.

    If I copyright my DNA. Can I sue my clone for mitosis?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Replaceable parts

    How wonderful! Maybe one day by injecting human DNA in other species eggs we could grow .. hum .. let's call it "something" .. which would provide 100% compatible replacement organs for the DNA "donor".

    And yes, the public opinion is ready, this is marvelous. Go go go!!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    This sounds fine to me...

    I don't see this as a real ethical problem. But I also agree in abortion up to 18 years of age. Catch your teenager doing drugs in the house? Abort them!

  19. Mage Silver badge
    Alien

    The Instumentality of Man

    C'mell will set free the slaves.

    If Cordwainer Smith was alive he might smirk, or then again...

  20. J
    Flame

    Re: Will the first cure from embryonic stem cell research please stand up....please....anyone?

    Er... could it be because there is *vastly more money* injected into adult stem cell research than into embryonic stem cell research, since the government funding agencies of the biggest research powerhouses do not allow ESC research, or therapeutic cloning-based research? (some might have changed a bit recently, but it's been too recent). Research is not free, you know. We can only go where people will pay us to go, which is an unfortunate consequence of the system oftentimes, but unavoidable.

    Want to push your "morality"-based, from-the-gut conclusions, that's fine and within your rights, but don't try to sound like much rationality entered the equation.

    Medical genetics, says it all -- usually not much.

  21. Rob Clubley
    Pirate

    Black Sheep...

    (the movie)

    It could happen...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    @Kenneth Ross

    I agree with you Kenneth that we have to think about this seriously, but as a scientist I find your viewpoint very closed-minded. Just because research has not led to any applicable cures yet, doesn't mean we shouldn't continue in that area.

    History is replete with examples of research that could be considered morally dodgy at the time but have resulted in things we wouldn't think of being without (many discoveries such as splitting the atom, rockets & jets, radar, synthetic blood, etc., all of which are products of military research, or military-funded research).

    And of course, different people have different opinions about when an embryo is a human life, and therefore have a different moral outlook with regards this research. Do you agree with animal testing for medical gains? There are many people who agree with animal testing, but not with embryonic stem cell research, and yet an animal is already alive and aware, a collection of a few cells is not (and if you're worried about a few cells, then don't ever wash, or use deodorant, or brush up against anything).

    From a devil's advocate.

  23. Andy Bright
    Go

    I have a dream

    My original dream was cruelly snatched from me, and the promise of a glow-in-the-dark dog never realised from a promising start..

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/01/12/fluorescent_pig/

    So new dreams were required, and this finally give me hope.. for a talking dog!

    So cease and desist you nay-saying malcontents, this is my dream coming to fulfillment and the odd pig-boy and fly-like experiment are duly required in the name of science.

    Flat-panel TV, check.. Flying Car, nearly there.. Talking Dog, it's going to happen and nothing can stop me.. mwahahahahaha

  24. Kenneth Ross

    response to Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps have a look here........

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/89136.php

    "Professor Ian Wilmut, Edinburgh University, who led the team that created Dolly the sheep - a cloned sheep - says he is abandoning the cloning of human embryos as a Japanese method is the best one for stem cell research and the future. Wilmut added that the Japanese method has the best chance of leading to effective cures for chronic conditions and diseases. Wilmut says he had met with his team and they all agreed."

    Just one example of a leading embryonic cloning advocate, who is shifting his research to adult cell types.

    I agree that this is an ethical issue, but it is not only about ethics. Yes, my moral / ethical viewpoint sees a fertilised cell as a living entity, and I believe a human embryo has an intrinsic spiritual value, but even if this argument was based purely on the best way to use limited grant funding, then the evidence right now seems to be pointing away from embryonic stem cell work.

  25. Steven Raith

    Embryo/human....

    "And of course, different people have different opinions about when an embryo is a human life, and therefore have a different moral outlook with regards this research."

    I think Bill Hicks got it right:

    "You aren't a human until you are in my phone book"

    and

    "Having a baby is no more a miracle than eating, and a turd coming out of your ass"

    This 'sanctity of life' crap annoys me. I'll put £5 on these anti- ESC types being the ones who are quite happy to dowse a bluebottle in RAID. Which is a far more vicious act than having a deek at a sub-14 day old cell cluster - at that age, it isn't even defined as an embry as far as I am aware.

    The Hypocrisy is strong in these ones.

    Steven R

  26. C
    Boffin

    but what about ...

    Mitochondrial DNA ?

    How will that affect the organs grown this way? Mayhap choosing the unfertilized egg of a creature with a significantly faster metabolism for more energy, or a creature with a significantly slower metabolism for longevity.

  27. Paul Murray
    Paris Hilton

    Old news?

    Isn't this old news? Haven't we been puting DNA for human insulin into microbes for years?

    "If the soul has left (or was never there) is it immoral?"

    We'll have none of tha cartesian dualism around here, thankyou. Tell me: if a soul is some sort of immaterial substance (ignoring the blatant oxymoron for a moment) that "leaves" the body at death, how is it that our material senses can make information evident to this "soul"? How is it that ingestion of alcohol can affect one's judgment?

    If a blastocyst has a "soul", how come I don't remember being an amorphous ball of cells? For that matter - if a person develops Alzheimers, do they have a lousy memory when they get to heaven? Or does God kind of do a reverse edit? If so - are the memories really theirs?

    Maybe Paris knows the answer to these conundrums.

  28. Alistair MacRae
    Thumb Up

    I'm all for it

    There's every reason to do this.

    It's not making animal people. It's for growing new tissue. Think of what you can do with this.

    Maybe one day growing new limbs hearts lungs. Any of this would be fantastic

    Think of how using other peoples organs after they died was thought of as i crime against god and humanity when it was first suggested.

    I'm 100% for it

  29. Mr Chris

    If this is not used to make advanced monkey butlers...

    ...I shall be writing to my MP.

  30. Ishkandar
    Joke

    @Mr Chris

    So you think that being butlers are all we simians are good for, eh ?? We, of the Simian Liberation Army, know where you live and we will be watching you carefully....

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