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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 18, 2005 / 7 Adar II, 5765

Giving new meaning to ‘of mice and men’

By Jeremy Rifkin


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Efforts to make human-animal hybrids must be stopped


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What happens when you cross a human and a mouse? Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke but, in fact, it's a serious experiment recently carried out by a research team headed by a distinguished molecular biologist, Irving Weissman, at Stanford University. Scientists injected human brain cells into mouse fetuses, creating a strain of mice that was approximately 1% human. Weissman is considering a follow-up experiment that would produce mice whose brains are made up of 100% human cells.

What if the mice escaped the laboratory and began to proliferate in the outside environment? What might be the ecological consequences of mice with human brain cells let loose in nature?

Weissman says that, of course, he would keep a tight rein on the mice and if they showed even the slightest signs of humanness, he would kill them. Hardly reassuring.

In a world where the bizarre has become all too commonplace, few things shock the human psyche. But experiments like the one that produced a partially humanized mouse stretch the limits of human tinkering with nature to the realm of the pathological.

This new research field — creating hybrid creatures out of different species — is at the cutting edge of the biotech revolution and is called chimeric experimentation (after the monster of Greek mythology that was part lion, part goat and part serpent).

The first such chimeric experiment occurred many years ago when scientists in Edinburgh, Scotland, fused together a sheep and goat embryo — two completely unrelated animal species that are incapable of mating and producing a hybrid offspring in nature. The resulting creature, called a geep, was born with the head of a goat and the body of a sheep.

Now, scientists have their sights trained on breaking the final taboo in the natural world — crossing humans and animals to create new human-animal hybrids of every kind and description. Already, aside from the humanized mouse, scientists have created pigs with human blood running through their veins and sheep with livers and hearts that are mostly human.

The experiments are designed to advance medical research. Indeed, a growing number of genetic engineers argue that human-animal hybrids will usher in a golden era of medicine. Researchers say the more humanized they can make research animals, the better able they will be to model the progression of human diseases, test new drugs and harvest tissues and organs for transplantation into human bodies.

Some researchers are speculating about human-chimpanzee chimeras — creating a humanzee. A humanzee would be the ideal laboratory research animal because chimpanzees are so closely related to human beings. Chimpanzees share 98% of the human genome, and a fully mature chimp has the equivalent mental abilities and consciousness of a 4-year-old human.

Fusing a human and chimpanzee embryo — a feat researchers say is quite feasible — could produce a creature so human that questions regarding its moral and legal status would throw 4,000 years of ethics into utter chaos.

Would such a creature enjoy human rights and protections under the law? For example, it's possible that such a creature could cross the species barrier and mate with a human. Would society allow inter-species conjugation? Would a humanzee have to pass some kind of "humanness" test to win its freedom? Would it be forced into doing menial labor or be used to perform dangerous activities? If the whole purpose of creating this hybrid is to perform medical experiments, could those experiments possibly be morally permissible?

Please understand that none of this is science fiction. Anticipating a flurry of new experiments, the National Academy of Sciences, the country's most august scientific body, is expected to issue guidelines for chimeric research in April. What would be the ramifications of creating hundreds, even thousands, of new life-forms that are part human and part other creature? Creatures that could mate, reproduce and repopulate the Earth?

Bioethicists are already clearing the moral path for human-animal chimeric experiments, arguing that once society gets past the revulsion factor, the prospect of new, partially human creatures has much to offer the human race.

Of course, this is exactly the kind of reasoning that has been put forth time and again to justify what is fast becoming a macabre journey into a Brave New World in which all of nature can be ruthlessly manipulated and re-engineered to suit the momentary needs and whims and caprices of just one species, the Homo sapiens.

This time, we risk undermining our own species' biological integrity in the name of human progress. With chimeric technology, scientists now have the power to rewrite the evolutionary saga — to sprinkle parts of Homo sapiens into the rest of the animal kingdom as well as fuse parts of other species into our own genome and even to create new human subspecies and super-species. Are we on the cusp of a biological renaissance, as some believe, or sowing the seeds of our own destruction?

What scientists fail to mention is that there are other equally promising and less invasive alternatives to these bizarre experiments. There's sophisticated computer modeling to study disease and to test the effectiveness and toxicity of drugs. There's in vitro tissue culture, nanotechnology and artificial prostheses to substitute for human tissue and organs. When it comes to chimeric experimentation, then, the question is, at what price?

I believe the price is too steep. We should draw the line at this type of experimentation and prohibit any further research into creating human-animal chimeras.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and the media consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



Jeremy Rifkin is the author of "The Biotech Century" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.). Comment by clicking here.






© 2005 Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate