Human-animal hybrids

Written December, 2012 

The idea of a chimera comes straight out of Greek mythology, but so far scientists have kept human-animal hybrids on the cellular level. According to some, even more modest experiments involving animal embryos and human stem cells violate human dignity and blur the line between species. But scientists have received support (particularly in the UK) from both the government and the public, after explaining the process as well as their (so far benign) research goals. Is interspecies research the next frontier in understanding humanity and curing disease, or a slippery slope, rife with ethical dilemmas, toward creating new species?

What are animal-human hybrids (chimeras)?

Chimera embryo

What are chimeras? (Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota)

Q&A on human-animal hybrids (PBS)

Animals containing human material (The US Academy of Medical Sciences)

What are the ethical issues?

Human/Nonhuman Chimeras: Assessing the Issues, 2012 (by Henry Greely), (Oxford Handbooks Online)

Ligers, Tigons, and Splice: Human-Animal Hybrids, 2012 (The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity)
How has this issue been covered in the popular press?


10 Ways Science is Using Human-Animal Hybrids (Discovery News)

Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy, 2005 (National Geographic News)

Stem cell experts seek rabbit-human embryo, 2006 (The Guardian)

Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy, 2005 (National Geographic)

Scientists urge rules for human-animal hybrids, 2011 (LA Times)

The Other Stem Cell Debate, 2005 (NYT)

Are Animal-Human Hybrids Really a Menace?, 2013 (Discovery Blogs)

Opinion: Animals with Human Material, 2011 (The Scientist)

Hybrid embryos fail to live up to stem-cell hopes, 2009 (Nature)
Bioethics and Politics

Hybrid research UK

Human Chimera Prohibition Act of 2005 (US. GovTrack)

Human Dignity and Bioethics: Essays Commissioned by the President’s Council on Bioethics, 2008 (Georgetown)

Report on Reproductive Technologies and the Law (UK Select Committee on Science and Technology)

The UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill of 2008 (National Archives)

Embryology Bill: The key points, 2006 (BBC News)

Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research (National Academy of Science)