Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras—a hybrid creature that's part human, part animal.
National Geographic News
January 25, 2005
Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs.
In Minnesota last year researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies.
At Stanford University in California an experiment might be done later this year to create mice with human brains.
Scientists feel that, the more humanlike the animal, the better research model it makes for testing drugs or possibly growing "spare parts," such as livers, to transplant into humans.
But creating human-animal chimeras—named after a monster in Greek mythology that had a lion's head, goat's body, and serpent's tail—has raised troubling questions: What new subhuman combination should be produced and for what purpose? At what point would it be considered human? And what rights, if any, should it have?