The following comes from an August 5 Daily Signal article by David Prentice and Chuck Donovan:

The National Institutes of Health has announced its support for expanded research into the development of chimeras, experimental genetic combinations of human beings and animals that, some experts say, may yield immense benefits in medical treatment and scientific knowledge.

The stated aim now, offered in new regulations published on Aug. 4, is to fund research putting human cells into very early animal embryos, even nonhuman primates in some cases.

This, NIH says, would allow new disease modeling, drug testing, and eventually the growth in animals of human organs that could be used for transplantation.

The problematic aspect is that when added so early in development, the human cells could end up, well, anywhere in the developing animal. In the worst case, the human cells could end up in gonadal tissue and form human gametes (eggs or sperm) within the animal’s body.

The breeding of new forms of life—human-animal hybrids—could then be in view, or even the development of an animal with a largely human or fully human brain. NIH’s answer to objections like these seems to be to preclude such animals from breeding (this would likely not be 100 percent effective—just ask anyone who has run an animal facility).

NIH is also forming a special screening panel to review chimera grant applications, based on recent recommendations from the International Society for Stem Cell Research (this group sees virtually no ethical problems with embryo research and destruction, including cloning, so it is not surprising that it has little problem with chimeras).

Government Shouldn’t Be Putting Human Cells in Animals. As a fact sheet produced by Kansas Right to Life notes, opening of this pathway to expanded chimera creation would inevitably mean the destruction of many embryonic humans as techniques are tested and refined. No matter what we might learn from watching cells grow in the unique situation chimeras represent, researchers will be killing nascent human embryos to harvest their cells.

If human-animal chimeras are allowed to be intentionally created for research, the door is also open to reproductive experiments, creating part-human organisms or designer animals to, say, carry out dangerous or degrading tasks human beings do not want to perform. Or donate organs these creations sacrifice for their human betters.

Until today, we might have hoped that NIH would let sleeping dog-men lie and maintain its funding moratorium. In one of H.G. Wells’ dystopian novels, a man is rescued at sea and brought to an island where he encounters a mad scientist, played by Marlon Brando in a movie adaptation, who has spent 17 years creating “animals fused with human genes.” The Island of Dr. Moreau ends tragically with death abounding.