Hybrid Humans?

  (19 January 08)
  by Greg Spearritt

ABC news tells us that Britain’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has just issued conditional one-year licences for two research proposals which involve creating embryos that merge human cells with eggs from other animals.
 
One research proposal aims to seek possible new therapies for brain disorders and other diseases; the other will investigate the possibility of producing cells similar to embryonic stem cells in a way that won’t require the use of egg cells in the first place.
 
Of course the goals are laudable (unless, like some who are against voluntary euthanasia, you believe we ought to just leave the whole life-and-death thing up to God, even though He seems to need a helping human hand in other ways such as cataract removal and appendectomy).

Clearly, these embryos will not be allowed to develop into viable ‘beings’, whether human or not. If they were human (and ‘viable’) and allowed to develop, lots of moral questions would arise. If none is in fact allowed to develop, does it matter whether they’re hybrids or not?

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