Human-animal creatures were purely fictional for years, a monster out to scare us and most think that is what they should remain: fiction. But to many people’s dismay, human-animal hybrids, also called ‘chimeras,’ are becoming a reality. And in Greek mythology, a ‘chimera’ is a horrific fire-breathing creature with the head of a lion, an emerging goat’s head on its back and a snake as its tail.
The thought of chimeras frightened Greeks but in this day and age, it’s becoming a reality with the development of human-animal hybrids. Genetic modification is particularly risky and it has serious implications. Despite researchers’ promises, our society is plunging into a very uncertain future. The research is finding its way into medicine and according to these hybrid’s creators, it’s for good reason.
The research provides huge benefits to the field of transplantation medicine. With a 76,000 long transplant waiting list, the United States is clearly having a shortage of organ donors. Scientists first attempted to grow human tissue from stem cells in vitro but it had little success. But now, they’re approaching the angle of using human stem cells to grow organs in an animal host.
On January 26, Jun Wu and his colleagues at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California were first to successfully create a chimera. Publishing their results in the scientific journal Cell, the researchers grew human cells inside a pig embryo, the first significant step to developing a human’s vital organs in other animals. This experiment was privately funded because after political opposition, the National Institute of Health imposed a moratorium on using public funding for this type of research in September 2015.
Dr David King, Director of Human Genetics Alert, the secular watchdog group, found the experiments disturbing. ‘I am concerned that human organs or tissues produced in pigs might carry pig viruses into the human population,’ King said. ‘The concern about mixing species touches something deep in the human psyche and our culture that is hard to put into words. It is not about some “wisdom of nature”, but about the unwisdom of scientists,’ King continued.
However, in August 2016, the agency lifted the ban and said this research’s ultimate goal is direct production of human tissues and replacement organs in animals for experimentation to better understand human diseases. Adding to the complexity, the National Academies of Sciences and Medicine also endorsed genetic modification and provided a report to ensure responsible and ethical testing.
Tinkering with human genetic material is eventually tinkering with the human race’s future. Once the material is passed on through the generations, it’ll be impossible to go back. Marcy Darnovsky, Executive Director of the Center for Genetics and Society, found the report’s recommendations and conclusions ‘unsettling and disappointing.’ He thinks it constitutes a green light for continuing efforts to engineer human genes and traits that pass on to the future generations.
Some scientists actually want to introduce animal genetic material to “enhance” human beings because, in theory, it could give super sight, super strength or other extraordinary powers, maybe even immortality. Steve Quayle and Tom Horn had constantly warned about this kind of trials for years. Imagine a 60% human and 40% bear hybrid in the future! The thought is creepy and it raises questions on how to even possibly even treat such a creature. I bet many of you are imagining some kind of superhero in the future.
I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but if these scientists do develop such technologies, who knows what’s really going to happen. Scientists believe these thoughts are dangerous due to lack of understanding about the potential threats of this kind of technology. And unfortunately for the rest of us, their chase towards this new world vision or technological utopia is leading the world to a genetic Armageddon, which might open up a Pandora’s box of horrors that we could potentially not be able to understand.