Human-Animal Hybrid Experiments Raise Need for Legislative Prohibition
April 2, 2008. A team at a UK university has placed the DNA of human cells into empty cow eggs “to create human-animal embryos known as cytoplasmic hybrids or ‘cybrids.’”
A science expert explains that “In genetic terms, they are 99.9 per cent human, as all their nuclear DNA comes from the human donor. Only a very small amount of animal DNA is left over, in cellular power plants called mitochondria.”
The procedure is technically a form of cloning that involves removing the nucleus from the animal (a cow or rabbit) egg cells, and replacing it with human DNA. Scientists would then allow the cells to divide for a week or so into about 200 cells, then destroy the embryo to extract stem cells.
A federal bill by Senators Brownback and Landrieu filed in 2007 to ban human-animal hybrids has drawn support from a diverse coalition concerned about ethics and safety. For example, Friends of the Earth president Brent Blackwelder, an environmental advocate, said making human-animal embryos “could potentially change what it means to be human. Additionally, mixing the genetic material of humans and animals opens a Pandora’s box of potential consequences, including threats to human health, such as cross-species disease transmission.”
BDF President and General Counsel Nikolas T. Nikas stated that “the production of human-animal hybrids is a grave affront to human dignity as well as a danger to public health.” He encourages state legislators and policy leaders interested in model legislation that bans both human cloning and human-animal hybrids to contact Bioethics Defense Fund at email@example.com.
150 human animal hybrids grown in UK labs: Embryos have been produced secretively for the past three years, The Daily Mail, July 25, 2011
“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.”