Re: [asa] "Interspecies Cloning"

From: Terry M. Gray <>
Date: Tue Mar 27 2007 - 14:31:14 EDT


Check out Michael Crichton's latest book "Next". Fun read--only one
minor technical error that I could find. And, you have to listen
through his kinda-sorta anti-science rants that's part of all his
books. But as in the climate change debate, contrary voices are
sometimes useful in sorting out the truth and especially useful in
sorting out values and priorities.

A major section of the book tell the story of a chimp/human hybrid.
The biology involved the investigator transferring a nucleus from one
of his own cells into a chimp egg and then implanting the egg back
into the chimp mother. The offspring had hybrid chimp/human
characteristics. He was hairy but not so that he could be disguised
as a human and he could talk and performed adequately in school. in
one scene he got into a school yard brawl and evidenced chimp-like
behavior by defecating and throwing the feces spot-on at the bullies
who were mistreating his "half brother".

Interesting thought. Reminds me a bit of a discussion in Cohen and
Stewart's *The Collapse of Chaos* where they discuss the effects of
the maternal environment in determining the phenotype. They claimed
that if you put mammoth DNA into a modern elephant egg that you would
get mostly elephant rather than mostly mammoth--thus it wouldn't be
possible to resurrect extinct mammoths because you need a mammoth
mother to make a mammoth. This is opposite of Crichton's scenario
where the hybrid actually turned out more human than chimp.


On Mar 26, 2007, at 6:26 PM, David Opderbeck wrote:

> I get broadcast email from the Family Research Council (in many
> ways to understand what evangelicals who are probably largely more
> conservative than I are thinking). This one below caught my
> interest. Is this a legitimate concern, or is there a bigger
> picture to it?
> If the U.S. doesn't move quickly to regulate the new trend of
> interspecies cloning, it's safe to say that researchers will
> experiment until the cows come home. In the U.K., some already
> have. Since human eggs are in short supply, researchers in Britain
> applied for permission to create human-cow embryos. In America,
> scientists are not even required to ask for permission--because no
> such restrictions exist! At the University of Nevada, Professor
> Esmail Zanjani has joined the ranks of Harvard and Yale scientists
> who have taken advantage of the lack of government scrutiny. This
> week, Zanjani announced that his team has created the world's first
> human-sheep chimera, whose cellular make-up is 15% human and 85%
> animal. Although Zanjani promises that the technique will give rise
> to a new source of organ donors, there's no telling what
> complications will result from the hybrid. Meanwhile, there are
> plenty of ethical complications in this amoral frontier. Research
> like this has created a legal and moral vacuum that Congress should
> fill with guidance and oversight. Join us in urging your leaders to
> ban creation of animal-human hybrids.

Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801

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Received on Tue Mar 27 14:31:57 2007

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