Monday, March 26, 2007

This is baaaaaad

the Mail reported Scientists have created the world's first human-sheep chimera - which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs. The sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells - and their evolution brings the prospect of animal organs being transplanted into humans one step closer.

This is baaaaaad

18 comments:

Greta said...

Ewe are so funny!

Don Singleton said...

Don't RAM it down my throat <grin>

Anonymous said...

Why is this bad? This is not a sheep with a human head or anything suchlike. This is a sheep with some internal organs that might be compatible with humans, and so might be transplantable. What do you have against organ transplants that save lives?

Don Singleton said...

I am not opposed to organ transplants, within the same species.

I am opposed to genetic manipulation and anything approaching human cloning.

Anonymous said...

Why do you draw a line at the species barrier? We already use a lot of stuff from other species in medicine. We use pig heart valves and pig insulin. Do you think we should let people die instead of using pig heart valves?

Don Singleton said...

We also use pig skin (or at least did at one time) to cover a bladder to make a football.

But we did not genetically manipulate the pig to be able to use its heart valves, insulin, or its skin.

Anonymous said...

OK, I see the distinction you are making. I take it, then, that you are opposed to all forms of genetic manipulation. Let me ask some distinguishing questions:

Is your opposition only to transplantation of xeno-organs derived by manipulation of DNA?

Do you oppose transplantation of xeno-organs derived by artificial selection?

Do you oppose other uses of species altered by DNA manipulation?

Don Singleton said...

I have no problem with breeding to try to improve a species.

I have no problem with genetic manipulation in the development of drugs.

I don't even object to genetic manipulation of plants to make them more sturdy or able to thrive in different environments or to the marketing of food thus produced. Initially I believe it should be labeled as to how it was produced, because I know some draw the line here.

I don't like the idea of extracting stem cells from the donor’s bone marrow and injecting them into the peritoneum of a sheep’s foetus, to grow a sheep with a liver, heart, lungs and brain that are partly human and then using them for transplants into humans (although I can think of some people who might benefit from having a sheep brain replacing theirs). However I will not identify the potential recipients.

Anonymous said...

Do you find the procedure itself intrinsically unobjectionable, but impossible to legally or ethically differentiate from other procedures that you WOULD find objectionable? In other words, are you drawing a line at ANY mixing of human genes with other species' genes because SOME such mixings would be ethically objectionable?

Don Singleton said...

Not sure. I can't think of any examples that I would approve of.

I certainly dont approve of human cloning, in any manner, or manipulation of human dna to achieve a desired birth.

Anonymous said...

OK, let's jump ahead. You don't like human cloning because it raises some really serious ethical problems. I agree entirely. Here's a nightmare problem I love to pose: let's say that some scientist is able to mix human DNA with chimpanzee DNA to produce a creature that's half-human, half-chimp. Does this creature have rights? What if the mixture is 3/4 human? 7/8ths? Yep, this is certainly nasty.

Such problems challenge our basic notions of what constitutes a human, in the same manner that improving medical treatments challenged our notion of what constitutes a baby. They force us to ask questions about ourselves, questions that we might not like to answer.

Yet I find such questions fascinating. How can we draw such a hard and fast line between ourselves and chimpanzees? We all innately sense that chimpanzees deserve greater respect than, say, paramecia. Sure, they shouldn't have the right to an attorney at the laboratory, but we know they deserve something more than cockroaches -- what?

Our moral and social codes have been built and honed by thousands of years of painful experience. They are well-suited to solving the problems of human experience of the last few thousand years. But technology is changing our social environment so fast that our moral codes can't quite keep up. We almost bought it with nuclear weapons, which made all-out war obsolete, but for a while we still accepted the notion of all-out war. We're just now coming around to the realization that war has to have a ceiling placed over it, a barrier above which nobody can ascend.

DNA technology will present us with many more such quandaries. And there's no stopping technology. Sure, you can outlaw it here, but that just means that somebody else will do it somewhere else.

I think we just have to bite the bullet and start addressing these issues now because they're coming and we can't stop them.

Don Singleton said...

they deserve something more than cockroaches -- what?

A banana? <grin>

Anonymous said...

I saw a movie that was so funny and it was set in a cab. The guy talking was saying that he fell in love with a sheep. In another movie there was a similiar scenerio, so what is it what sheep and humans? There is something wrong with a society that is cloning so much... hey I wish my hair was like a horses tail hahahah

Anonymous said...

I wish I could clone myself. Then I could send my other self to work and do all those things I don't want to do. The cloning in the future will make little robots out of all of us.

Anonymous said...

Hey, in parts of Europe, people actually do the dirty deed with sheep/they are out in the field and sheep are gentle animals. God knows what will come of this. At least the sheep don't talk back to you. OMG

Lee&Lyn said...

Hi, It's Lee&Lyn, and we for the most part take a humerous backseat to this blog. It is comical in a way that makes us think that eventually every clone will have a clone. A twin is a clone, however, they are backwards to each other/ or mirror images. Genetically speaking, they are the same. Hey with all the fertility drugs out there, they should clone all the great presidents, bring up the DNA from the dead presidents and have a field day. How about Albert Einstein (who failed math, by the way), or Abe Lincoln, who liked to build log cabins. Would history actually repeat itself? We think not. We don't like tampering with nature.

Lyn said...

HI, it's Lyn again, and I couldn't resist writing this. Lee and I have been pondering and pondering.
If there were 2 of us, we would be pondering twice over. Anyway, I think a can of worms has been opened, just like the computer gurus opened a can of worms with computers. The new world of wonder has been closing in on us at an alarming rate. Are we ready for all of this?

LEE said...

Hi Don, I think Lyn is too serious.
I liked the blog about the guy who had an affair with a sheep.