AZCapitolTimes.com: March 31, 2010
2 measures would ban cloning, human-animal hybrids
A House panel has given its approval to two measures that would prohibit cloning, the sale of human embryos and efforts to create human-animal hybrids.
The provision in S1307 that outlaws creation of hybrid humans drew skeptical questions from Rep. Ed Ableser, a Tempe Democrat.
“Is this bill trying to stop future Islands of Dr. Moreau?” he asked. “Is this part of a broader scare? Is this a paranoia of monstrosities, of animals and humans cloned together?”
Nikolas Nikas, an attorney and founder of the Bioethics Defense Fund, said the matter is less science fiction than one might imagine. The British Parliament recently gave approval for scientists to merge the DNA of human and animal embryos. The result hasn’t been a true hybrid – half human, half animal – he said, but a “cybrid,” where only a minute fraction of the DNA is that of an animal.
But that doesn’t erase the ethical questions such experimentation raises, Nikas said.
“There are profound ethical questions about how much … animal does a human embryo have to be before you wonder if it’s still a human,” he said. “Anyone who says it can’t be done is foolish.”