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Originally published on the SleuthJournal.com and republished with permission.
Did you know that scientists all over the globe are creating extremely bizarre human-animal chimeras? Over the past decade, there have been some absolutely stunning advances in the field of genetic modification. Today, it is literally possible for college students to create new lifeforms in their basements. Unfortunately, laws have not kept pace with these advancements, and in many countries there are very few limits on what scientists are allowed to do. As you will read about below, extremely creepy human-animal hybrids are now being created in laboratories all over the planet. And this is just the stuff that is publicly admitted. Can you imagine what kind of sick and twisted experiments are taking place in the dark corners of secret labs that nobody knows about? And what happens if these creatures get out into the wild and starting mating? At that point, it would be nearly impossible to "put the genie back into the bottle". Scientists seem very eager to test the limits of what is possible, but what they are unleashing may have consequences that none of us ever dreamed possible.
Just the other day, we learned that scientists have created mice that have an artificial human chromosome "in every cell of their bodies".
So what should we call such creatures? They are definitely not fully mice anymore.
Scientists are hailing this as a "breakthrough" which could lead to all sorts of new treatments for disease. The following is from an article entitled "Mice with human chromosomes – the genetic breakthrough that could revolutionise medicine"...
Scientists have created genetically-engineered mice with artificial human chromosomes in every cell of their bodies, as part of a series of studies showing that it may be possible to treat genetic diseases with a radically new form of gene therapy.
In one of the unpublished studies, researchers made a human artificial chromosome in the laboratory from chemical building blocks rather than chipping away at an existing human chromosome, indicating the increasingly powerful technology behind the new field of synthetic biology.
This is quite bizarre.
But creating mice with artificial human chromosomes is one thing.
Creating mice with partly human brains is a whole different ball of wax.
According to LifeNews.com, researchers at the University of Wisconsin have successfully transferred cells from human embryos into the brains of mice. Those cells began to grow and develop, and they actually made the mice smarter...
Yet experiments like these are going forward just the same. In just the past few months, scientists at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Rochester have published data on their human-animal neural chimeras. For the Wisconsin study, researchers injected mice with an immunotoxin to destroy a part of their brains–the hippocampus–that's associated with learning, memory, and spatial reasoning. Then the researchers replaced those damaged cells with cells derived from human embryos. The cells proliferated and the lab chimeras recovered their ability to navigate a water maze.
For the Rochester study, researchers implanted newborn mice with nascent human glial cells, which help support and nourish neurons in the brain. Six months later, the human parts had elbowed out the mouse equivalents, and the animals had enhanced ability to solve a simple maze and learn conditioned cues. These protocols might run afoul of the anti-hybrid laws, and perhaps they should arouse some questions. These chimeric mice may not be human, or even really human, but they're certainly one step further down the path to Algernon. It may not be so long before we're faced with some hairy bioethics: What rights should we assign to mice with human brains?
Is this really a good idea?
Do we really want to start creating entities that are part-human?
Apparently, it is now even possible to grow entire human organs inside animals. In fact, scientists in Japan plan to start systematically growing human organs inside of pigs within 12 months. The goal is to increase the number of organs available for medical transplants as a recent Infowars.com article explained...
A panel of scientists and legal experts appointed by the Japanese government will be gathering together to begin drafting guidelines governing Japan's historic embryonic research. If all goes according to plan, scientists hope to begin growing human organs in animals within the next 12 months.
The research sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. Scientists place a human stem cell into the embryo of an animal to create a "chimeric embryo" that can be implanted into the animal's womb. According to the Telegraph, the animal in question will most likely be a pig.
Once the embryo is implanted it will grow into a perfect human organ – a heart, a kidney, a pancreas, and so on. Then, when the adult pig is slaughtered, the organ will be harvested and transplanted into someone who needs a new one.
But once a human organ is grown inside a pig, that pig is no longer fully a pig.
And without a doubt, that organ will no longer be a fully human organ after it is grown inside the pig. Those receiving those organs will be allowing human-animal hybrid organs to be implanted into them.
One can only imagine what the consequences of doing such a thing would be.
You would think that there should be strict limits on this kind of a thing. And in a few areas around the globe, there are some limits. But most of the time the ethical decisions are left up to the scientists...
Two years ago, the UK Academy of Medical Sciences released a groundbreaking report on "animals containing human material". It concluded that most research on chimeras is permitted by existing UK laws. But it also identified some experiments that should not (yet) be done because of strong ethical objections. One is to breed an animal that has human sperm or eggs. Another is to create a non-human primate with a humanised brain.
Most people would be absolutely shocked to learn some of the things that are currently being done in the name of science.
For example, did you know that rice that contains actual human genes is being grown right now in Kansas?...
Unless the rice you buy is certified organic, or comes specifically from a farm that tests its rice crops for genetically modified (GM) traits, you could be eating rice tainted with actual human genes. The only known GMO with inbred human traits in cultivation today, a GM rice product made by biotechnology company Ventria Bioscience is currently being grown on 3,200 acres in Junction City, Kansas — and possibly elsewhere — and most people have no idea about it.
Since about 2006, Ventria has been quietly cultivating rice that has been genetically modified (GM) with genes from the human liver for the purpose of taking the artificial proteins produced by this "Frankenrice" and using them in pharmaceuticals.
We are corrupting nature, and yet very few people seem alarmed. When the Daily Mail reported back in 2011 that scientists in the UK had created "more than 150″ human-animal hybrid embryos, hardly anyone got upset about it...
Last night a campaigner against the excesses of medical research said he was disgusted that scientists were 'dabbling in the grotesque'.
Figures seen by the Daily Mail show that 155 'admixed' embryos, containing both human and animal genetic material, have been created since the introduction of the 2008 Human Fertilisation Embryology Act.
This legalised the creation of a variety of hybrids, including an animal egg fertilised by a human sperm; 'cybrids', in which a human nucleus is implanted into an animal cell; and 'chimeras', in which human cells are mixed with animal embryos.
Sadly, this kind of thing is being done all over the planet. Just check out some of the truly bizarre human-animal hybrid experiments that have been taking place all over the globe according to a recent Slate article...
Not long ago, Chinese scientists embedded genes for human milk proteins into a mouse's genome and have since created herds of humanized-milk-producing goats. Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Michigan have a method for putting a human anal sphincter into a mouse as a means of finding better treatments for fecal incontinence, and doctors are building animals with humanized immune systems to serve as subjects for new HIV vaccines.
Are you disgusted by those examples?
You should be.
Here are some other ways that humans and animals are being combined...
And these are just the things that we know about.
What kind of sick and twisted experiments are going on around the globe that we don't know about?
Like I mentioned at the top, we live at a time when the possibilities in the field of genetic modification seem endless.
But just because we can do something does not mean that we should actually do it.
The movie "Splice" demonstrated the danger of creating an entirely new lifeform that is only partially human. When we create something that is neither fully human or fully animal, what kind of spirit enters that being? What would the consequences be if such beings started mating with other animals? Could we end up creating creatures that are far beyond our capacity to control?
Unfortunately, Pandora's box has already been opened and it is going to be extremely difficult to control the creation of human-animal hybrids. This technology is racing ahead all over the planet, and at this point even college students can create new lifeforms in their own basements.
We are entering a strange new world, and nobody is quite sure what comes next.