The Point

The Point: One Hybrid We Don’t Need


John Stonestreet

Last week, researchers claimed to have successfully created human-monkey hybrid embryos. The project was led by a scientist from California working in China, which has clearly become the wild, wild East of genetic research.

Free from those pesky regulations that protect human rights and ensure ethical research practice, the scientists injected human stem cells into monkey embryos. Their hope, they say, is to grow organs like kidneys and livers made up entirely of human cells, which could be used for transplants. Ah yes, that whole “trust us, we’re helping you” trope.

As one California scientist told the MIT Technology Review, the experiments make no sense. Such organs would be “too small” and take “too long to develop.” Perhaps, he continued, “the researchers have more basic scientific questions in mind,” such as addressing questions of “interspecies barriers.”

I’m more and more convinced that in order for anyone to graduate med school or get a PhD in genetics these days, they should be required to read “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” Annually.


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