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02/02/2017

Last week’s “Loser of the Week”: the Human Race

Every Friday, on the Fox News “Special Report,” anchor Bret Baier asks his panelists to choose a winner and loser for the week.  Last week, Charles Krauthammer’s “loser” choice was “the human race.”  Why?  Because of the first peer-reviewed publication (in the journal Cell, freely available online via the link) of work to produce pig-human hybrid embryos—pig embryos with human stem cells implanted, making a creature that is part human, part pig.  The eventual goal is growing human organs in pigs for transplantation in humans.

Now, good things arguably could come from this work, and it looks like they did not use embryonic stem cells obtained from destroyed human embryos, and the process is still inefficient so that “clinical use is years away.”  And when Baier asked Dr. Krauthammer, “Do you have a picture?” which, as we know, is what television demands, the response was no, it’s tiny, not grown to a size where it could be born.  (Yet.)  So if we can’t see it we can’t appreciate the implications—it doesn’t connect, kind of like a lot of folks see embryos as less than human because they don’t look like people…

Dr. Krauthammer said, “The implications of this are simply staggering.  We shouldn’t be doing anything near this, despite the fact that it holds out some promise for making spare parts.

“If you’re not scared by this, you don’t understand what’s going on.”

So he said in 30 seconds what I’ve been arguing, most recently in an August 4, 2016 post about changes in U.S funding for this research.

There are some avenues of work that simply should not be pursued.

This entry was posted in Health Care, Stem Cells and tagged , , , . Posted by Jon Holmlund. Bookmark the permalink.

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