By Terry Vanderheyden
lab mouse  LONDON, August 9, 2006 ( – UK scientists are calling for a ban on some forms of experimentation, including the creation of animal-human hybrid “chimeras”.

  The Scottish Council on Human Bioethics called for a ban on the grisly “science” in a report released Tuesday. According to the,  council director Dr. Calum MacKellar said that “Most people are not aware that these kinds of experiments have been taking place in the UK and find it deeply offensive.”

“The fertilisation of animal eggs with human sperm should not continue to be legal in the UK for research purposes,” he added. “Parliament should follow France and Germany and prohibit the creation of animal-human hybrid embryos.”

  It is not, however, only in the U.K. that such experiments are being conducted. Last month the Indian Express reported that California’s Salk Institute biologist Fred Gage already has mice containing within their brains “living human neurons that help them to see, hear and think.” Gage has created the human-mouse hybrids ostensibly to help him understand motor neuron diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

  Irving Weissman, director of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine has also created mice with brains made up of as much as one percent human neurons. His goal is to create a mouse with a brain made entirely of human cells.

  According to Jordan Ballor, in his article, A Monster Created in Man’s Image, Dr. Benjamin Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution and member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, commented at a hearing on human-animal chimeras: “I think it’s very important as a Council that we make sure that we distinguish between using human or animal parts across species, such as insulin,  heart valves, things of that nature, and mixing the genetic material that has proliferative capacity . . . there’s a huge difference between those two things.” (Read Ballor’s column at:

  Last month, in an L.A. Times Opinion-Editorial, David P. Barash, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, advocated the creation of a race of human/chimpanzee hybrids, but, he admits, only because it would offend Christians. (See coverage:

  In his State of the Union address in January, US President George W Bush condemned the practice. “A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners and that recognize the matchless value of every life,” he said. “Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research,  human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our creator, and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale.”

  See related coverage:

  National Geographic Reports Human/Animal Hybrid Creatures being Created in Labs Around the World