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Thread: Now scientists create a sheep that's 15% human

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    Now scientists create a sheep that's 15% human

    By CLAUDIA JOSEPH
    Last updated at 21:26pm on 24th March 2007


    Scientists have created the world's first human-sheep chimera - which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs.

    The sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells - and their evolution brings the prospect of animal organs being transplanted into humans one step closer.

    Professor Esmail Zanjani, of the University of Nevada, has spent seven years and £5million perfecting the technique, which involves injecting adult human cells into a sheep's foetus.

    He has already created a sheep liver which has a large proportion of human cells and eventually hopes to precisely match a sheep to a transplant patient, using their own stem cells to create their own flock of sheep.

    The process would involve extracting stem cells from the donor's bone marrow and injecting them into the peritoneum of a sheep's foetus. When the lamb is born, two months later, it would have a liver, heart, lungs and brain that are partly human and available for transplant.

    "We would take a couple of ounces of bone marrow cells from the patient,' said Prof Zanjani, whose work is highlighted in a Channel 4 programme tomorrow.

    "We would isolate the stem cells from them, inject them into the peritoneum of these animals and then these cells would get distributed throughout the metabolic system into the circulatory system of all the organs in the body. The two ounces of stem cell or bone marrow cell we get would provide enough stem cells to do about ten foetuses. So you don't just have one organ for transplant purposes, you have many available in case the first one fails."

    At present 7,168 patients are waiting for an organ transplant in Britain alone, and two thirds of them are expected to die before an organ becomes available.

    Scientists at King's College, London, and the North East Stem Cell Institute in Newcastle have now applied to the HFEA, the Government's fertility watchdog, for permission to start work on the chimeras.

    But the development is likely to revive criticisms about scientists playing God, with the possibility of silent viruses, which are harmless in animals, being introduced into the human race.

    Dr Patrick Dixon, an international lecturer on biological trends, warned: "Many silent viruses could create a biological nightmare in humans. Mutant animal viruses are a real threat, as we have seen with HIV."

    Animal rights activists fear that if the cells get mixed together, they could end up with cellular fusion, creating a hybrid which would have the features and characteristics of both man and sheep. But Prof Zanjani said: "Transplanting the cells into foetal sheep at this early stage does not result in fusion at all."

    Source: The Mail on Sunday

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    Am I reading this correctly?

    Did that truly say brain of a human being? :runaway

    Something about that makes me a little nervous...

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    Chimaera

    What an obscene accomplishment ! :eek If this ISN'T playing God, what, then, would be ? These monsters are being created only so that they can be killed (of course, biologists euphemistically call this "sacrificing") so that their organs can be harvested to help keep human beings alive. I say that this is IMMORAL !:angry:

    I am horrified by this callous meddling. :thumbsdow

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    What bothers me about this the most is the idea of these animals having HUMAN brains!

    If they were just growing a kidney it would not be AS big of a deal but the HUMAN BRAIN!?

    What are we going to do next? Create an animal which is a human being with the exception of it's sheep head and kill it to harvest it for body parts for those who are 100% human and not 90% human 10% sheep ? ????????????:runaway

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    Further down the spiral we go, this time in the name of science.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambiorix
    What are we going to do next?
    Good question, but I'm not sure i want to know the answer.

    And why are scientists cloning species that are in over abundance on earth? If we're going to clone animals, let's do a few that are on the endangered species list, shall we? Cloned sheep? Who the hell needs more sheep?

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    Senior Member skyhawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ewergrin
    Cloned sheep? Who the hell needs more sheep?

    The Welsh.
    By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

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    Senior Member skyhawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ewergrin
    Cloned sheep? Who the hell needs more sheep?

    The promoters of Consumerism ?

    Members of the " Sheep lonely Hearts " Club ?

    Sheep Supremacists ?

    When you think about it , how have we ever managed with so few of them ?
    By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

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    I guess that this adds a certain literalness to the insulting expression: "sheeple."

    The ethical considerations aside, I am wondering if this would allow certain diseases naturally restricted to sheep to infect the human recipients of the resulting xenotransplantation. For example, scrapies, a so-called prion disease (and related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy), is normally restricted to sheep and goats. Scrapies is considered to be non-transmissible to humans (which is fortunate for a friend of mine who is sheep geneticist at USU and who accidentally punctured herself with a scrapies-contaminated needle several years ago). However, it does not seem unreasonable to wonder if the recipients of sheep-human chimeric tissues and organs might be at risk. Before this continues, I feel that studies need to be conducted to investigate and, hopefully, eliminate this possibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pteridium
    I guess that this adds a certain literalness to the insulting expression: "sheeple."

    The ethical considerations aside, I am wondering if this would allow certain diseases naturally restricted to sheep to infect the human recipients of the resulting xenotransplantation. For example, scrapies, a so-called prion disease (and related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy), is normally restricted to sheep and goats. Scrapies is considered to be non-transmissible to humans (which is fortunate for a friend of mine who is sheep geneticist at USU and who accidentally punctured herself with a scrapies-contaminated needle several years ago). However, it does not seem unreasonable to wonder if the recipients of sheep-human chimeric tissues and organs might be at risk. Before this continues, I feel that studies need to be conducted to investigate and, hopefully, eliminate this possibility.
    More worrying is what the sheep may contract from us ! We really are so elitist toward other animals.
    By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

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    'Scientists' make me physically sick
    Love all living things whose humble task is not opposed in any way to yours, to ours: men with simple hearts, honest, without vanity and malice, and all the animals, because they are beautiful, without exception and without exception indifferent to whatever "idea" there may be. Love them, and you will see the eternal in the glance of their eyes of jet, amber, or emerald. Savitri Devi

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