The quest to create animals with human organs has a long history – and it is now becoming a reality. Has science taken a step too far?
By: David Robson
Published: BBC, 5 January 2017, http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170104-the-birth-of-the-human-animal-chimeras
Level of Difficulty:***
BEFORE YOU READ
· BBC to create human animal hybrids https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yccCmULoags
WATCH A FILM
· The Island of Doctor Moreau http://ffilms.org/the-island-of-dr-moreau-1996/
ALTERNATIVELY, READ THE BOOK
· The Island of Doctor Moreau http://www.planetebook.com/ebooks/The-Island-of-Doctor-Moreau.pdf
1. The Island of Doctor Moreau gives the impression of being a horror story / an adventure story / a crime novel / a mystery story because the main characters are a veterinarian/ a medical researcher/ a crazy scientist and ……………………………
2. We get the impression that past literature and some modern papers regard the issue of half human and half human chimeras with suspicion / disgust / fear / horror
3. Why does the writer start his article the way he does?
4. What does “It” refer to in the sentence “It’s going to open up a new understanding of biology”?
5. We need to stop and think before proceeding down the path of creating chimeras because…………………….
6. Read the information about the incidence of chimeras in nature. From the information we can draw the conclusion that
· Homer accurately expressed the presence of chimeras in the world
· Chimeras in the animal kingdom are all twins
· Human chimeras cannot be detected from their appearance
· Chimeras of various kinds already exist in nature
7. Rossant showed that the key factor when trying to create chimeras is to make sure that……………………
8. Rossant also thinks that the work done with chimeras could help shed light on……………………………………………….
9. Read the story of the Soviet Ape Man. In what way is this experiment similar to or different from what scientists are currently trying to do?
10. Growing human organs in animals has two distinct advantages: ………………would be reduced and …………………..could be more effectively tested.
11. The biggest technical hurdle that needs to be overcome at present is how to deal with…………………………………
12. Why does Rossant say “I do think that has to be something that is taken into account and discussed extensively”?
13. Stuart Newman is not happy with the current solutions because:
· He feels they may not be affective enough
· He feels the research may not be carried far enough
· He feels the research may be carried too far
· He feels the research is still in its infancy
14. Why does Newman think scientists will be unable to stop themselves from overreaching?
15. Why does Newman think this research could pave the way for designer babies?
16. What are the possible implications of research into human and animal chimeras in terms of society?
17. Read the remainder of the text to the end. Which of the statements below best express the writer’s views?
· He is deeply disturbed by the repercussions of the research
· He has serious reservations about this new research
· He mostly agrees with the arguments put forward in the journal nature
· He expresses an understanding of the pros and cons of the issue
18. Why does the writer end the article by referring back to “The Island of Doctor Moreau?
Write an argumentative essay on whether to allow research into chimeras in your own country or not. Consider the arguments below:
· Organs for transplant could be created
· Waiting times for organs could be reduced
· Drug tests could be carried out more affectively
· Scientists may go too far
· It will numb our sense of our own humanity
· It is unethical
THE BIRTH OF HALF HUMAN, HALF ANIMAL CHIMERAS KEY AND TEACHERS’NOTES
Chimeras do exist in nature occurring naturally in the womb or in the animal kingdom but actually creating human animal chimeras for organ transplant is a completely new phenomenon but it needs to be discussed as it has recently been legalized in the UK. It should lead to a good argumentative essay. Some will feel that scientists can be prevented from going too far with legislation others will feel this won’t stop them but at least they will have formed an informed opinion.
1. A horror story, a crazy scientist and grotesque travesties of men
3. It is standard practice to start with the counter argument and then introduce your own argument. A striking example like the one in this text will motivate the reader to continue reading, especially if he agrees with the counter arguments
4. Implanting human stem cells into an animal embryo
5. It may permanently change our understanding of what it means to be human
6. The last one
7. Ensuring that the placenta matches the mother’s DNA
8. The behavioral differences between species
9. The foreign tissue in the chimeras would be limited to specific organ in the new research
10. Waiting time, drugs
11. The evolutionary gap between humans and pigs
12. Because she found her chimeras shared the temperaments of both species; OR because stem cells have reached the brains of animal chimeras
13. He feels that the research may be carried too far
14. Because there is a momentum to the whole enterprise that makes you want to go further and further
15. Because it would numb our sense of our own humanity
16. If the public thinks a human is a compilation of capacities, those existing humans with fewer of these valued capacities will be considered of lesser value
17. The last one
18. It is good stylistically