In ancient cave drawings you will often find the chimera, a half man, half animal form. The most likely answer to it is that it was drawn at the time religious imagery was changing from nature worship to man as god, as seen later in many ancient Egyptian gods.
British scientists have now created a new chimera.
This is a man/cow hybrid embryo in the hope of furthering stem cell research and treatment of hereditary illness. But don’t worry, this new chimera will never be implanted in a womb.
Is this a magnificent step in human knowledge, or the beginning of the ultimate genetic nightmare? I don’t know, but I do know that any regulation of such things must be produced in terms of the latter.
Science is an amoral practice, and rightly so. They do not ask ‘should we?’ They ask ‘’can we’. It is their job to explore all avenues of knowledge, wherever it goes. And for this reason it must never – ever – be up to science to regulate itself.
© Anthony North, April 2008
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