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Behind closed doors scientists have breached the genetic codes that separate the individuality of animal and plant species.
In the area of food production, new hybrid plant species have been scientifically engineered, with their derivative products commonly appearing in our supermarket shelves. But quietly, for two decades, scientists have taken the knowledge of genetic engineering to a frightening new level; merging animal DNA with human DNA, creating the potential and unthinkable reality of super human non-human entities.
These developments along with their looming and terrible consequences, held back from the public eye, are exposed in this important and sobering new documentary.
“Trans-Humanism” blows the lid off a secretive area of technology where science may indeed be going too far.
Here is a report in the UK from 2009:
In a scenario that a panel of scientists with the Academy of Medical Sciences warned bears resemblance to Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” British scientists have created more than 150 human-animal hybrid embryos in secret research conducted in British laboratories.
According to the Daily Mail, 155 “admixed” embryos, containing both human and animal genetic material, have been created over the past three years by scientists who said stem cells could be harvested from the embryos to be used in research into possible cures for a wide range of diseases.
The secret research was revealed after a committee of scientists warned of a nightmare scenario in which the creation of human-animal hybrids could go too far.
Professor Robin Lovell-Badge of the National Institute for Medical Research and co-author of a report by the committee of scientists, warned about the experiments and called for stricter oversight of this type of research. He especially zeroed in on human genetic material being implanted into animal embryos, and attempts at giving lab animals human attributes by injecting human stem cells into the brains of monkeys.
It was revealed that labs at King’s College London, Newcastle University and Warwick University were given licenses to carry out the research after the introduction of the 2008 Human Fertilisation Embryology Act that legalized the creation of human-animal hybrids, as well as ‘cybrids’, in which a human nucleus is implanted into an animal cell, and ‘chimeras’, in which human cells are mixed with animal embryos.
However, the scientists did not call for any additional legislation regulating such controversial research, but called instead for a panel of experts to oversee it. Prof Martin Bobrow, chair of the Academy working group that produced the report, said: “The very great majority of experiments present no issues beyond the general use of animals in research and these should proceed under current regulation.
“A limited number of experiments should be permissible subject to scrutiny by the expert body we recommend; and a very limited range should not be undertaken, at least until the potential consequences are more fully understood.”
Peter Saunders, the CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship, a UK-based organization with 4,500 UK doctors, expressed his skepticism about any such regulatory body.
“Scientists regulating scientists is worrying because scientists are generally not experts in theology, philosophy and ethics and they often have ideological or financial vested interests in their research. Moreover they do not like to have restrictions placed on their work,” observed Saunders.
In a question and answer session in Parliament led by Lord David Alton following the release of the report, it was revealed that the human-animal hybrid research has stopped due to lack of funding.
“I argued in Parliament against the creation of human-animal hybrids as a matter of principle,” Lord Alton said. “None of the scientists who appeared before us could give us any justification in terms of treatment. At every stage the justification from scientists has been: if only you allow us to do this, we will find cures for every illness known to mankind. This is emotional blackmail.”
“Ethically it can never be justifiable – it discredits us as a country. It is dabbling in the grotesque,” Lord Alton added. “Of the 80 treatments and cures which have come about from stem cells, all have come from adult stem cells, not embryonic ones. On moral and ethical grounds this fails; and on scientific and medical ones too.”
Josephine Quintavalle, of the pro-life group Comment on Reproductive Ethics (Corethics), told the Daily Mail, “I am aghast that this is going on and we didn’t know anything about it. Why have they kept this a secret? If they are proud of what they are doing, why do we need to ask Parliamentary questions for this to come to light?”
“The problem with many scientists is that they want to do things because they want to experiment. That is not a good enough rationale,” Quintavalle concluded.
In 2009, South Korean scientists have created four glow-in-the-dark beagles using cloning techniques that they say could help them develop cures for human diseases.
By Ashlee Vance on November 01, 2012
George Church—he of the beard, tall man’s lope and overwhelming credentials—has hit the circuit to promote a new book: Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves. As the title explains, the book explores the field of synthetic biology, which centers on how man can program DNA to create things ranging from new fuels to seeds that grow into fully-formed houses. This subject often veers into the fanciful, and Church keeps up that tradition. Yet when he says things about bringing Neanderthals back to life, you have to take notice instead of chuckling.
For about the last 35 years, Church has been at the cutting edge of genetics and radical biology in academic and entrepreneurial settings. Today, he’s the professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, the super-sought-after adviser to more than 20 companies in genetics and synthetic biology, and co-founder of a handful of companies. Church, 58, relishes the academic side of his work and has scores of researchers doing cutting-edge stuff at his Harvard lab. That said, he likes to make sure that people see him as a man of action and not just some big brain in an ivory tower. “I still do things with my own hands,” he says.
Regenesis opens with some fairly fantastic notions. For one, there’s talk of going all Jurassic Park on the world and bringing mammoths and other creatures back from extinction. Why would we want to do such a thing? Well, it turns out that mammoths clomped around in the tundra and stopped trees from growing and taking over vast grasslands. The increase in trees since their disappearance has contributed to warmer temperatures because the trees don’t reflect light or consume carbon dioxide as well as grass. “We need practical reasons as well as inspirational ones with this technology,” Church says.
The thought experiment turns more intriguing when the subject of Neanderthals comes up. Church has tests running in the lab around Neanderthal cells as he tries to determine what this species might have looked and acted like. “I am 3.8 percent Neanderthal,” says Church, who has had his genome sequenced. “One of my ancestors mated with a Neanderthal, and I am not embarrassed by that.”
Church figures it’s only a matter of time and proven safety before people start picking out traits for their offspring and cloning entire children. “Almost all technology in this area is banned until it works,” Church says. “In vitro fertilization was banned, and now it is immoral to deny an infertile couple their birthright to have a child produced by their bodies. At some point, someone will come up with an airtight argument as to why they should have a cloned child. At that point, cloning will be acceptable. At that point, people will already be choosing traits for their children. What politician will tell a parent that they can’t spend their hard-earned money on getting an extra 50 SAT points for their child as long as it’s safe?”
Right, but what about the Neanderthals? I can’t let that one go.
“We have lots of Neanderthal parts around the lab. We are creating Neanderthal cells. Let’s say someone has a healthy, normal Neanderthal baby. Well, then, everyone will want to have a Neanderthal kid. Were they superstrong or supersmart? Who knows? But there’s one way to find out.”
While controversy often accompanies such talk, Church says he’s avoided slings and arrows throughout his career. “I’ve been bracing for the backlash for 20 years,” he says. It’s important to have discussions about these complex issues early and in a rational manner before the technology gets ahead of the talk, he adds. “Let’s do some safety engineering first and come up with some solutions to problems,” he says.
How far off is this brave new world? Well, according to Church, probably not far at all. “The cheap human genome was supposed to arrive 50 years from now,” he says. “It arrived this year. What if a cheap Neanderthal or mammoth arrives 50 years ahead of time?”
Church reckons that training seeds to grow into chairs or houses should be well within in our reach. “Trees are essentially growing chairs,” he says. “There are lots of primates that sit and sleep in them. That’s not visionary.”
Bringing back species from the dead or modifying species will take a bit more work. “You basically have to design a dinosaur from an ostrich because of limitations with old DNA,” he says. “You have to find a way to return the teeth and tails and arms. We will get there. I wouldn’t put anything out into the next century. We just got a 1-million-fold improvement in reading and writing DNA in the last six years. I think the developmental biology that we’re talking about is something we could knock off in much less than a century. The same goes for eliminating disease and making a big dent in aging and poverty.”
Obama’s Science czar, John Holdren, praised his mentor, Harrison Brown, an advocate of infanticide and abortion.
In this clip of Harrison Brown, he raises questions about whether eugenics is as “common sense”
What are the outstanding virtues we should attempt to breed in to our population? You might say intelligence, but what kind of intelligence? You might say attractiveness, but what kind of attractiveness?
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