Posts Tagged ‘human brain’

Scientists feel that, the more humanlike the animal, the better research model it makes for testing drugs or possibly growing “spare parts,” such as livers, to transplant into humans.

. Chimeras—a hybrid creature that’s part human, part animal

Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras—a hybrid creature that’s part human, part animal.

Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells.

. Pigs with human blood

In Minnesota last year researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies.

With the world facing an organ shortage so serious that the majority of potential transplant recipients die while on waiting lists, doctors have looked to similarly sized animal organs as a potential alternative to human donations.

Unfortunately, the human body swiftly rejects animal organs. Animal lungs have proven especially problematic, as they stop functioning as soon as they com in contact with human blood.

Since pig organs are essentially the same size and shape as human organs, this advance could drastically increase the number of lungs available for transplant.

 . Mice with human brain

Scientists have produced laboratory mice in which a quarter of the brain cells are human.

Although the mice in the experiment still behaved like ordinary mice, the research raises questions about the boundaries between humans and animals.

scientists are now considering a research project to grow a mouse whose brain is populated almost entirely with human cells -although there would have to be a thorough ethical review before this step is taken.

The so-called ‘chimaeric brain’ developed in the mice showed that human brain cells can flourish in a mouse’s skull.

Researcher Irving Weissman, of Stanford University, said: ‘It looks like human cells can follow the developmental instructions put in by the mouse brain. They are making human components in what is clearly a mouse brain.’

Creating human-animal chimeras—named after a monster in Greek mythology that had a lion’s head, goat’s body, and serpent’s tail—has raised troubling questions: What new subhuman combination should be produced and for what purpose? At what point would it be considered human? And what rights, if any, should it have?

As a reader what you think is it good to create human-animal hybrids?