First British human-animal hybrid embryos created by scientists

sybarite

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Messages
3,576
Britain's first human-animal hybrid embryos have been created, forming a crucial first step, scientists believe, towards a supply of stem cells that could be used to investigate debilitating and so far untreatable conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's and motor neurone disease.

Lyle Armstrong, who led the work, gained permission in January from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to create the embryos, known as "cytoplasmic hybrids".

His team at Newcastle University produced the embryos by inserting human DNA from a skin cell into a hollowed-out cow egg. An electric shock then induced the hybrid embryo to grow. The embryo, 99.9% human and 0.1% other animal, grew for three days, until it had 32 cells.

Read more....First British human-animal hybrid embryos created by scientists | Science | The Guardian

___________________

So, does anyone think this is going to go beyond the embryonic stage to see what develops? I believe scientists inquiring minds are definitely going to want to know even if there are laws preventing them from doing otherwise. Are these "creatures" going to be viewed as animals or humans?
 

kipper

Super Moderator
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
29,566
[QUOTE="sybarite, post: 3718372]

___________________

So, does anyone think this is going to go beyond the embryonic stage to see what develops? I believe scientists inquiring minds are definitely going to want to know even if there are laws preventing them from doing otherwise. Are these "creatures" going to be viewed as animals or humans?[/QUOTE]

Think they may be viewed as politicians...
 

Flynn

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
11,697
For them to be viewed as animals or humans the first step would be to grow one of the embryos to maturity.

With a bit more engineering scientist may be able to create a whole new human type life form that does not have imperfections encoded in their dna.

Scientists will be able to grow organ/limb transplants for existing humans and then dispose or recycle the cadavers. Any waste material can be used as fertilizer or even Soylent Green Pellets.
 

squirt

Administrator
Joined
May 5, 2004
Messages
819,916
inquiring minds want to know, I would fully expect a few to step beyond the scope of their "approved" research
 

Crudebug

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Messages
7,031
Syb,
Thanks for sharing.. and something like this was inevitable in the march of science.
Already so many body parts are being artificially created that it is only a matter of time, before you could shop for off-the-shelf replacements and not all of them will be bio-chemical, bionic, electro-mechanical, cloned either from one’s own self or from others or even from plant or animal extracts. The very food we eat will soon be dominated by genetically engineered versions of the original organic strains.

Those determined to venture beyond the permissible, will find ways and means to do so and any law will be impotent in enforcing ethical considerations. People will find safe havens to operate in. Heck, one can even own personal islands these days and anything can go on there out of view and knowledge of any regulatory agency, even if such areas fall within the purview of national sovereignty. Be it cloning, hybridization, or even creating of the extremely scary anti-matter, constraints will be circumvented or overcome and humans will be presented with fait accompli.
How long before the composition of the hybrid dilutes the human % from 99.9 to even 50 % is a matter of conjecture.. as some try to create a super species.. giving people nightmare of Frankenstenarouses taking over the planet…
On the bright side.. the majority who are doing all they can to extinguish the planet may succeed before these experiments may reach fruition.. lol
 

Crudebug

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Messages
7,031
According to newspaper reports, 155 'admixed' embryos, containing both human and animal genetic material, have been created since the introduction of the 2008 Human Fertilization Embryology Act.
The hybrids included an animal egg fertilized by a human sperm, "cybrids," in which a human nucleus is implanted into an animal cell and "chimeras," in which human cells are mixed with animal embryos. PARA-HUMAN is a term used to describe Cybrid or chimera.
Earlier this week, a group of leading scientists warned about "Planet of the Apes" experiments. They called for new rules to prevent lab animals being given human attributes, for example by injecting human stem cells into the brains of primates.
Some TRANSHUMANISTS think this technology may offer ways to overcome disease and aging.
Another aspect of the debate touches on individual freedom to use germinal choice technology (reprogenetics).

Developmental biologist Stuart Newman applied for a patent on a human-nonhuman chimera in 1997 to challenge the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Congress on the patentability of organisms.
Not sure about the UK, but the US has passed the Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act in 2008

If 155 embryos were admittedly created in secret, how many went have already gone beyond the embryonic stage and destroyed in secret is anyone’s guess.. Pandora’s box has already been opened, I guess..
 

Crudebug

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Messages
7,031
[QUOTE="jmdobson, post: 3718561]The Island of Dr. Moreau.[/QUOTE]
A kinda Jurassic Park of the Future
 

Dutch

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Messages
1,482
[QUOTE="sybarite, post: 3718372] So, does anyone think this is going to go beyond the embryonic stage to see what develops? [/QUOTE]
I sincerely doubt they will have viable life much beyond the 32 cell stage. Technically there are too many problems that I doubt will be overcome.
In theory these things sound very nice, but in practice there are too many elements beyond our control. Life is too complex, too chaotic, and the success rate of these experiments are very, very poor.

I see that the article is from 2008 and later on the group moved its research to a different area (induced pluripotent stem cells), this is likely due to the poor results with hybrid techniques.
 

Crudebug

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Messages
7,031
[QUOTE="Dutch, post: 3718608]I sincerely doubt they will have viable life much beyond the 32 cell stage. Technically there are too many problems that I doubt will be overcome.
In theory these things sound very nice, but in practice there are too many elements beyond our control. Life is too complex, too chaotic, and the success rate of these experiments are very, very poor.

I see that the article is from 2008 and later on the group moved its research to a different area (induced pluripotent stem cells), this is likely due to the poor results with hybrid techniques.[/QUOTE]

Three labs in the UK – at King’s College London, Newcastle University and Warwick University – were granted licences to carry out the research after the 2008 Human Fertilisation Embryology Act came into force. (Not sure if the provisions cover cybrids and chimeras and if they do, to what extent). The 155 embryos were created SINCE the introduction of the Act. The figure was given to crossbench peer Lord Alton following a Parliamentary question.
All those labs have now stopped creating hybrid embryos DUE TO A LACK OF FUNDING, but scientists believe that there will be more such work in the future. (Not because of poor results) (No one knows how many labs have the funds to continue research in secret)
 

Dutch

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Messages
1,482
[QUOTE="Crudebug, post: 3718610]Three labs in the UK – at King’s College London, Newcastle University and Warwick University – were granted licences to carry out the research after the 2008 Human Fertilisation Embryology Act came into force. (Not sure if the provisions cover cybrids and chimeras and if they do, to what extent). The 155 embryos were created SINCE the introduction of the Act. The figure was given to crossbench peer Lord Alton following a Parliamentary question.
All those labs have now stopped creating hybrid embryos DUE TO A LACK OF FUNDING, but scientists believe that there will be more such work in the future. (Not because of poor results) (No one knows how many labs have the funds to continue research in secret)[/QUOTE]
Funding and results are closely linked. This sort of cell manipulation simply does not offer enough results to work from, scientists and funding agencies know this. I'm sure there are some who think much can be done in the future, I am not one of them. It is technically simply too inefficient.
 

Crudebug

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Messages
7,031
[QUOTE="Dutch, post: 3718612]Funding and results are closely linked. This sort of cell manipulation simply does not offer enough results to work from, scientists and funding agencies know this. I'm sure there are some who think much can be done in the future, I am not one of them. It is technically simply too inefficient.[/QUOTE]
In this instance, the funding tap was turned off till proper regulation is introduced, as the promising results made many nervous that to impose controls after a creation is unleashed might be too little, too late.. in fact, the potential of succeeding before regulations cover all aspects are in place made it hard to plead for funds. I suppose in a way that fear is well justified.
What is uncertain is the know-how exists and might already be in advanced stages of undisclosed and unregulated research.

As for efficiency.. has that even stopped a government from funding a project,.. In that case many would never get off the ground.. especially infrastructure ones..
 

Dutch

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Messages
1,482
[QUOTE="Crudebug, post: 3718616]In this instance, the funding tap was turned off till proper regulation is introduced, as the promising results made many nervous that to impose controls after a creation is unleashed might be too little, too late.. in fact, the potential of succeeding before regulations cover all aspects are in place made it hard to plead for funds. I suppose in a way that fear is well justified.
What is uncertain is the know-how exists and might already be in advanced stages of undisclosed and unregulated research.

As for efficiency.. has that even stopped a government from funding a project,.. In that case many would never get off the ground.. especially infrastructure ones..[/QUOTE]
Let me explain it differently. Cloning, the creation of hybrid embryos, and similar types of cell manipulation is so inefficient that we are talking about a fraction of all attempts that deliver an actual embryo. Of those, only another fraction is viable beyond the earliest stages. From the fraction of the fraction that is left, only a few will fully develop, and I have yet to see the first that will develop without health issues. This, and the fact that mammals take months to develop, make these techniques so inefficient that research doesn't make much sense. Especially when there are high throughput alternatives.

The technical issues at play also make me certain there is no advanced secret research being done. It is simply not possible to control, let alone direct in a purpose driven manner.
 

Crudebug

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Messages
7,031
Okay, granted that the slow and expensive process may turn off prospectors looking to make a quick buck
But the same argument on available expertise and funding and time was used by skeptics in the pre-cloning era, until Dolly bleats awoke them to face a new reality.
What is happening now is that a tight leash is reining in recognized research from running wild.. but science was never deterred by impediments and overcame induced hurdles to unleash new discoveries and inventions..
To me, it is simply a matter of when.. not if.
 

Dutch

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Messages
1,482
[QUOTE="Crudebug, post: 3718634]Okay, granted that the slow and expensive process may turn off prospectors looking to make a quick buck
But the same argument on available expertise and funding and time was used by skeptics in the pre-cloning era, until Dolly bleats awoke them to face a new reality.
What is happening now is that a tight leash is reining in recognized research from running wild.. but science was never deterred by impediments and overcame induced hurdles to unleash new discoveries and inventions..
To me, it is simply a matter of when.. not if.[/QUOTE]
Dolly was only a PR success. Scientifically it was a lot less interesting, more a lesson in how little we know and can control.

The technical problem is called the 'epigenome'. It is a developmental "code" on top of the genome that decides how a cell develops, and it is the link between the genome and the environment. The problem is that there is no way to control it. Not only do we know too little about it, what we do know indicates it is so complex and chaotic that it cannot be controlled. Even if, highly theoretically, it could be controlled, we are still decades away from understanding epigenetics to a degree that could be of practical use for developmental biology. But as far as I'm concerned, the complexity prohibits control. There are simply too many variables that interact.
 

Crudebug

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Messages
7,031
Controlling features of a clone is the next step, but to diminish the success of cloning into a PR gimmick is to greatly understate the achievement.
And you surely don’t mean it when you say it was less scientifically interesting when the feat took the science and lay community alike by shock and held them in awe.. and even today remains a benchmark in more than it’s own field.
Problems in controlling it are secondary.. the initial objective was not to created a controlled clone, but to be able to clone at all..
As technology expands, so do ambitious goals and selective features will inevitably be programmed as the roles of various building blocks in life are not only better understood but even more easily manipulated as days go by.
Complexity has never been a deterrent.. simply measured as a scale of challenge to overcome..
 

Dutch

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Messages
1,482
[QUOTE="Crudebug, post: 3718647]Controlling features of a clone is the next step, but to diminish the success of cloning into a PR gimmick is to greatly understate the achievement.[/quote]
I do know what I am talking about.

[QUOTE="Crudebug, post: 3718647]And you surely don’t mean it when you say it was less scientifically interesting when the feat took the science and lay community alike by shock and held them in awe.. and even today remains a benchmark in more than it’s own field.
Problems in controlling it are secondary.. the initial objective was not to created a controlled clone, but to be able to clone at all..[/quote]
The lay public might have been left in shock and awe, for the scientific community the joy was something that quickly passed. The overwhelming number of tries that was required to end up with a completely unhealthy sheep underlined the problems faced. Dolly was not really as successful a clone as they initially thought.

[QUOTE="Crudebug, post: 3718647]As technology expands, so do ambitious goals and selective features will inevitably be programmed as the roles of various building blocks in life are not only better understood but even more easily manipulated as days go by.
Complexity has never been a deterrent.. simply measured as a scale of challenge to overcome..[/QUOTE]
No, scaling with not help. Epigenetics is too complex and chaotic. It is not a building block like DNA, it is influenced by environmental factors, it is reset twice during development, it has non-evolutionary transgenerational effects, even handling an embryo can cause changes to its epigenetic coding. This is pure chaos theory and makes epigenetics inherently unpredictable.
 

Crudebug

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Messages
7,031
I still prefer to be optimistic about the capabilities, prospects and ingenuity of our scientific wizards.. lol
 
Top