Even Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker Wouldn't Try This
Plans for the experiments have been proposed by Professor Chris Shaw, a neurologist and expert in motor neurone disease at King's College London, and Professor Ian Wilmut, the Edinburgh University-based creator of Dolly the sheep. They say creating the rabbit-human hybrids is necessary because of the shortage of human eggs available for research.
"The fertility of rabbits is legendary," said Shaw. "The most important thing is that with animal eggs, we have a much better chance of generating stem cells and if we wait for human eggs, it's going to be maybe a decade before we can do this. If we can use animal eggs, we could maybe have stem cells within one or two years," he added.
If the researchers are granted consent, they won't be the first to fuse human cells with rabbit eggs. In 2003, Huizhen Sheng at Shanghai Second Medical University published work in which she claimed to have extracted stem cells from hybrid embryos made from rabbit eggs.
So how will they do it?
To make a hybrid embryo, a human skin cell would be taken from a person with motor neurone disease and injected into a hollowed-out rabbit egg. The resulting embryo would contain only a tiny amount of rabbit DNA in a microscopic structure that generates energy in the cell. The rest of the DNA would be human. Within a week or so, the egg will have divided to form a tiny ball of a 200 or so cells, from which stem cells could be extracted. "They will never grow beyond the 200 cell stage and they will have no human features," said Prof Shaw.
Many scientists question the ethics involved here.
Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics said: "There is a lot of innate wisdom in the yuk factor, or repugnance as it is also known. My question is: what will they actually create? It is simplistic or deliberately deceptive to say they are simply making stem cells. In order to obtain stem cells they surely have to go through the blastocyst stage; they have to create a 'something' from which to derive the new cells. What is this something? It must be human to be of any use to researchers."
I'm not a scientist, Mr. Quintavalle, but I know exactly what that SOMETHING is going to be:
I did a post back in August on something similar. Read it here: Teenage Mutant Ninja HUMANS?