British Bishops Argue Animal-Human Embryos Need Human Rights

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British scientists want to install human genomes in cow and rabbit eggs to produce stem cell lines for research purposes. Reuters reports :

Hybrid animal-human embryos created for medical research should be viewed as human and permitted to develop into children, Roman Catholic bishops have urged the British parliament…Catholic bishops of England and Wales want women to have the right to bear the chimeras, which would be more than 99 percent human, as their own children, they told a parliamentary committee examining the legislation on Tuesday.

The divines making the argument are apparently under the erroneous impression that human eggs are involved the research. If that were the case, then human genomes installed in human eggs might result in a fully human cloned baby who would clearly have all the rights that other human babies have. But that's not what is happening in this case. Whether or not human genomes transplanted into cow or rabbit eggs could produce a chimeric baby that was genetically more than 99 percent human (the mitochondrial genomes would be rabbit or cow) is not known.

Since Roman Catholic doctrine teaches that embryos are the moral equivalent of 30 year-olds, it not surprising that the Bishops are grappling with the question of how much human DNA must an entity–even an embryo–have before obtaining human moral standing?

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  1. I support all kinds of genetic experimentation. Why should The Island of Doctor Moreau remain speculation? Let’s find out what will really happen.

  2. Meanwhile, Gore continues his hunt for the ever elusive “manbearpig”

  3. JsD,
    I’m with you. Can’t happen fast enough to suit me. We could mix human and swine to get babes with eight boobs!

    Bring it on.

  4. I’m in favor of the Bishop. Its rare but this time I agree. Liquidators

  5. I don’t agree with Bishops. Nonetheless, I do agree that we should perhaps be a little more concerned about regulating the mixing of human and animal DNA, though I approach it from an attitude of concern about animal rights (what’s it to us if we sow animals with all sorts of our DNA after all?) But exaggeration, hyperbole and mis-placed fears will only obscure what I consider more legitimate concerns.

  6. “Every sperm is sacred…”

    I don’t know which idea I find more disturbing. Scientists creating human/animal hybrid cells or bishops pushing to let these things grow into adulthood.

    But I would be curious to see who would win in the battle between British manimals and Japanese humanoid robots.

  7. But I would be curious to see who would win in the battle between British manimals and Japanese humanoid robots.

    It would make for some fun wagering, off-line of course.

  8. We could mix human and swine to get babes with eight boobs!

    Already done. Technically, they’re called teats and they’ve named the creation Washington D.C.

  9. My life has value, too, even though I’m small. And furry.

  10. My life has value, too, even though I’m small. And furry.

    Damned staight, Stuart. Die you little rodent bastard, die!

  11. Sounds like these bishops were watching “Dark Angel” reruns.

  12. The Bishop!

  13. Um. I’m not a reproductive biologist, nor am I a stem cell researcher, but I am a geneticist (getting a kick …)

    I don’t think a pig egg plus a woman’s nuclear genetic complement equals a kidpig. 99% genetic identity is fine and dandy, but that doesn’t make a viable human. We’re 99.whatever% genetically identical to the chimpanzee but I think we can all agree that that 0.something is pretty damned significant.

  14. When will this come full circle? I want to see a human-animal chimera appointed to be a bishop in Engalnd.

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