Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Monday, May 02, 2005

And you thought "The Fly" was just a campy Hollywood horror flick

By Aussiegirl

The following article on genetic mingling of human and animal cells is discussed on a thought-provoking post just up on
Tim Birdnow's excellent blogsite, Birdblog", in which Tim discusses the disturbing potential problems raised by this type of experimentation with human, plant and animal genes. I highly recommend you read both.

Read an excerpt from Yahoo news:

Particularly worrisome to some scientists are the nightmare scenarios that could arise from the mixing of brain cells: What if a human mind somehow got trapped inside a sheep's head?

The "idea that human neuronal cells might participate in 'higher order' brain functions in a nonhuman animal, however unlikely that may be, raises concerns that need to be considered," the academies report warned.

In January, an informal ethics committee at Stanford University endorsed a proposal to create mice with brains nearly completely made of human brain cells. Stem cell scientist Irving Weissman said his experiment could provide unparalleled insight into how the human brain develops and how degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson's progress.

Stanford law professor Hank Greely, who chaired the ethics committee, said the board was satisfied that the size and shape of the mouse brain would prevent the human cells from creating any traits of humanity. Just in case, Greely said, the committee
recommended closely monitoring the mice's behavior and immediately killing any that display human-like behavior.

Now read an excerpt of Tim's article:

Question: why do most animals reproduce through sex? Because all higher order life on Earth has been engaged in an endless battle against microorganisms. These microorganisms adapt and evolve to prey on the genetic code of larger creatures, and they quickly ``learn`` the genetic template of their prey. Larger life forms have to continually remix their genetic code to stay one step ahead of these microorganisms. By reproducing sexually, children wind up with a new molecular variation which the microorganisms then have to adapt themselves to if they are to thrive. In short, sex is healthy for your offspring.

So, where`s the problem? Every species on Earth has a plethora of microorganisms which have specialized in parasiting and infecting that particular species. There are many, many diseases which are incapable of jumping species.


At 1:51 AM, Anonymous Pindar said...

Thanks, Aussiegirl, for alerting me to Tim's interesting discussion of this alarming article. Your blog and Tim's blog always leave me with a lot to think about.


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