Today, I am talking genetically engineering humans and animals. When I was a child I used to run home every day after school just to watch the special movie week featuring the Planet of the Apes series. There was Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Then the Planet of the Apes TV series came out. I loved every one of them.
Growing up I didn’t look at those movies as DNA manipulation. I didn’t even know what that was. It was just a great movie. It wasn’t until I got older when I started to understand the ramifications of these types of movies. What’s interesting is that these movies took place over 40 years ago.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Now with the new movie, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” coming out this Friday you get to see genetic engineering at its finest. This movie explains what happened in the beginning and how we got the original Planet of the Apes series. The story is set in present day San Francisco. One man is trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and experiments on a chimpanzee named Caesar. The cure modifies Caesar’s brain and gives him human-like intelligence. With this comes the idea of developing more apes like him. Thus a revolution ensues and a fight for survival takes place.
With the ramification of DNA tampering involved in this, I thought it was appropriate to talk about what’s really going on in the world when it comes to genetic manipulation. But before I do that, here’s another movie that came out not too long ago about the same thing.
Splice also features genetic engineering. Two scientists’ jobs were to create new animal hybrids for medical purposes. However, when the scientists are forbidden from using human DNA, they sneak and do it anyway, creating a human-animal hybrid called Dren. Realizing they could not keep Dren hidden any longer they move her to a barn out in the country. Unfortunately for them, Dren grows in her intelligence and strength. No longer wanting to be locked up while developing a love for the male scientist, things begin to go wrong very fast. Surprises happen to Dren’s development and things get worst.
This is another movie showing us the problems with DNA manipulation. But these are only fictional movies, you say. Not really. Let’s look at what the world is doing in genetic splicing.
150 Human Animal Hybrids Grown in UK Labs: Embryos Have Been Produced Secretively for the Past Three Years
“Figures seen by the Daily Mail show that 155 ‘admixed’ embryos, containing both human and animal genetic material, have been created since the introduction of the 2008 Human Fertilisation Embryology Act.”
The techniques used can help find cures for incurable diseases by developing embryonic stem cells. However, all of the 80 treatments and cures available have come from adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Therefore, Lord Alton believes creating embryonic stem cells fails morally, ethically, and scientifically. They should not be used at all.
On the other hand, Professor Robin Lovell-Badge approves of these experiments. He said: “The reason for doing these experiments is to understand more about early human development and come up with ways of curing serious diseases.”
As you can see these new movies, like most movies, are based on some type of truth. All the movies are doing is allowing “What if?” scenarios to play out. Personally, I’m not sure how injecting human DNA into animals can help me understand human development. Then again I am not a scientist.
While I have featured one news article to talk about there are people all over the world and different countries doing the same thing. We do it here in cancer research and other diseases.
I think Martin Bobrow hit the nail on the head when he said, “Where people begin to worry is when you get to the brain, to the germ (reproductive) cells, and to the sort of central features that help us recognize what is a person, like skin texture, facial shape and speech.” (Hybrid Animal-Human Experiments – original link doesn’t work anymore – http://www.urbanchristiannews.com/ucn/2011/07/hybrid-animal-human-experiments-need-ethics-to-stop-the-creation-of-monsters.html)
People don’t want mythology coming alive. How disturbing it would be to go outside and see a half man, half horse walking down the street. Maybe we’re far from this happening. Maybe we’re not. Who really knows?
One movement, Transhumanism, actively supports human-animal hybrids. This movement “advocates the need to develop better humans,” whether that means messing with the aging process or increasing someone’s intellectual capacity, or giving him the genes to build a stronger body physically. (Human-animal Hybrid) They believe human-animal hybrids are a way to build a better human race. One TV show I watch called, Fringe, features this very concept.
I love science fiction because it tells you what the world is really doing behind closed doors. I believe anything is possible when man sets his mind to do a thing. Whether the outcome is good or bad is something everyone will have to wait and see.
What do you think about mixing DNA of humans and animals? How far should scientists go in the name of medical treatment and cures? Would you knowingly inject your body with animal DNA as a treatment? Would you even want to know? Tell me what you think.
In the meantime, take a look at some of the articles below to increase your knowledge on human-animal hybrid experiments.
10 Ways Science is Using Human-Animal Hybrids (original link doesn’t work anymore) http://news.discovery.com/tech/human-animal-hybrid-chimera-splice-slide-show.html
Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy (original link doesn’t work anymore) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/01/0125_050125_chimeras.html
Hybrid Animal-Human Experiments Need Ethics to Stop the Creation of ‘Monsters’ (original link doesn’t work anymore) http://www.urbanchristiannews.com/ucn/2011/07/hybrid-animal-human-experiments-need-ethics-to-stop-the-creation-of-monsters.html