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Patents for Human/Animal Hybrids


SkinWalker
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Should research on human/animal chimeras be allowed to continue?  

8 members have voted

  1. 1. Should research on human/animal chimeras be allowed to continue?

    • No, and the Patent Office should stay out of it.
      2
    • No, and the Patent Office should grant Newman the patent so he can keep it from happening for 20 years.
      1
    • Yes, and the Patent Office should grant the patent to Newman so that the research can continue in 20 years.
      0
    • Yes, and the Patent Office should stay out of it so the research can continue now, unabated.
      5


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At first, this seems like a bit of science fiction. But consider this: scientists have created crosses between a goat and a sheep (the "geep") and a camel and a llama (the "cama").

 

Now consider this: the genetic distance between sheep and goats (depending upon the species) is between 6 to 11 % (Upholt & David, 1977) and the genetic distance between humans and chimpanzees is 1.7% (Page, et al, 1999). In other words, it should be easier to create a chimera (pronounced kie-mare-a), which is the hybrid of two different species of animal, with a chimp/human than with a goat/sheep.

 

Two articles that deal with this can be found online, one at www.motherjones.com and the other at reason.com.

 

For a layman's explanation of chimera, click here. That Wikipedia link has other links to related materials and photographs.

 

So the issue is this: a scientist and activist named Stuart Newman of the New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York, has applied for a patent to the human/animal chimera. His goal is to use the patent office to impede the development of chimera technology as it applies to humans for at least 20 years, not to actually use the patent to create chimeras.

 

The U.S. Patent office has refused to grant the patent so far, but it hasn't yet rejected it outright. Instead, the patent has been in limbo for 6 years rather than the 24 month process most other patents take.

 

Eventually, the patent office has to make one of the following decisions: 1) reject the patent outright, setting a precedent not to patent biotechnologies that can be considered "human;" 2) grant the patent, setting the precedent of allowing biotechnologies that can be considered "human" to be patentable; or 3) continue to do nothing.

 

Either way, it appears that the case might end up in the Supreme Court and that the Congress may have to rule on what limitations may be placed upon biotech patents.

 

 

References:

Page SL, Chiu C, Goodman M. , (Nov. 1999). Molecular phylogeny of Old World monkeys (Cercopithecidae) as inferred from gamma-globin DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 13(2):348-59.

 

Upholt WB, Dawid IB (1977). Mapping of mitochondrial DNA of individual sheep and goats: rapid evolution in the D loop region. Cell 11 (3): 571-583

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Ooo, lots of controversy here. I guess it all comes to down to whether humans "playing God" and doing things that only nature could do before.

 

On one hand, one can argue that humans should not be going over their heads, and that humans do not have the "control" and "finesse" at creating life that nature does.

 

On the other hand, one can argue that today we already have bioengineered plants, and even the beginnings of bioengineered animals (the recent invention of the glow-in-the-dark fish), and that there is no plausible reason as to why humans should not seek to progress this science as long as humans do not abuse it.

 

Sooner or later, Congress will have to address this matter and set rules and guidelines upon this matter, but ultimately, I think in the next few decades, these guidelines will become invalid. Despite the arguements against it, I think the growing scientific and technological trend and "mindset" of human beings will cause us to recognize that the pros of bioengineering are greater than the cons.

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Today a lot of things can be done using modern science/genetica/... but those possibilities are joined with moral thoughts, wheter or not it should be or can be done.

I think the question we have to ask is the purpose of creating this chimeara.

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Originally posted by Pad

I think the question we have to ask is the purpose of creating this chimeara.

 

There are many reasons... some better than others.

 

The production of organs for transplants that will not be rejected is but one use. Already there are studies underway to determine how to create a chimera of pig/human cells that will produce an animal that looks like a pig in all respects, but has the organs of a human that can be transplanted.

 

In addition, there are mice/human ideas for creating labtest animals that will more accurately demonstrated human responses to drugs. Already there is a mouse that was patented that has a genetically guaranteed tumor for cancer research.

 

Bad uses of a chimera would be the creation of an armadillo/human hybrid that would make a soldier with built-in armor.

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Crimney! I never thought this crap was REAL! *eyes open wide*

 

The purposes sound all nice and life saving, but again, the morals in the long run...

 

...how can I voice my view on this?

 

...this is going to sound real retaded...

...we just finished the causes of the American Civil War in US Gov/His. One big cause was slavery. But issuses over slavery had been stewing for years before. There were comprimises that were doomed to fall thru and laws that contradicted eachother. Slavery was seen as a "nessary evil" to keep the economy up. Then when Abe threatened to abolish slavery, the South went nuts and started succeding (is that spelt right?).

 

This sparked off a war that resulted in the sensless deaths of thousands, wrecked the country and still is the cause of rifts between peoples.

 

:mad: I can see it already. Engineering is "nessary evil". Our country needs it.

 

 

Now I'm all scared...has anyone ever read "Future Man" by Brain Fairfield? He briefly touched on this messy subject.

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The production of organs for transplants that will not be rejected is but one use. Already there are studies underway to determine how to create a chimera of pig/human cells that will produce an animal that looks like a pig in all respects, but has the organs of a human that can be transplanted.

 

I guess if you had a loved one who had a heart that was about to fail, you would be glad to have a pig that could grow a new replacement heart.

 

I tend to think the patent office should continue stalling.

 

I am wondering who will police all these strange things? It would be very difficult. Even though there are beneficial aspects to the technology, I have misgivings about it. It would be easy for the unethical to abuse the technology and create monsters and major problems.

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[serious but non-intellectual comment] I want a monkey tail.[/serious but non-intellectual comment]

 

As pointed out, the medical benefits are great so, of course. But also the possibility for it being used for "evil" is high, so... it's a tough call, but then again all things have their controversy, look at electricity, it's now become a form of a weapon when back in the day it was just so we could have long lasting light and power to supply other things.

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I just one to know, why would we want animal hybrids? I don't want freak lab experimental hybrid animals to run across the street, spreading bacteria that is only caused by a rare reaction when splicing cells!

 

btw, yes, i think the patent office should stay out of this matter and reject it. Yet, if u abide by the true meaning and rules of a patent, maybe Newman should get it. But, that guy's just whack, IMHO.

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the fuastian desire in man is too great. this issue will not disappear but will become more complicated, and in 100 years the issue of this patent will only have an effect in as much as it is a beginning point the starting line so to speak of a marathon that ends where God begins. as for the ethical question i think of it in terms of morality and immorality. and so that i may better understand i ask myself what is wrong with progress of this kind and what is wrong with the creation of a human ape chimera or the others if it is beneficial to man. imagine a world in which there will not be a long wait for a donor organ to arrive but will be readily available. a world in which test drugs will spend a much shorter length of time waiting to be certified. or even a world where insane sith could get his monkey tail. mankind has already started down this unclear fog enshrouded path and all the dangers that are yet unknown are still hidden by the mists. is there a new pandoras box lying in wait somewhere or will it all progress towards scientific and medical breakthroughs that no reasonable person would say are evil. I think Mr. Stuart is afraid of the unknown or maybe he knows more scientists than i do and is truly afraid they will create monsters.

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