Monday, March 26, 2007

Calling Dr. Moreau

Does this look like anyone you know?

This sheep is 15% human. It represents both the latest in genetic science and an unforseen boon for the sheep - lonely british soldier joke industry.

Actually, this sheep was developed by a scientist in Nevada for the purpose of having an animal with organs that can be transplanted into humans. The number of people awaiting donated organs is far in excess of the number of organs available, and many people die while awaiting transplants. Scientists in the UK are applying for permits for large scale experimentation with the hybrid sheep.

While this research shows promise, it is not without controversy:

[T]he development is likely to revive criticisms about scientists playing God, with the possibility of silent viruses, which are harmless in animals, being introduced into the human race.

Dr Patrick Dixon, an international lecturer on biological trends, warned: "Many silent viruses could create a biological nightmare in humans. Mutant animal viruses are a real threat, as we have seen with HIV."

Read the whole story here. I believe this falls under the "Yes we can, but . . . hmmm . . . should we?" category.

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