Scientists in Japan have achieved a startling breakthrough. After making complete cells from mouse DNA, they coaxed those cells into becoming stem cells and from those stem cells generated a whole mouse. There is no reason it could not be done with human beings.
You have a beer, someone takes your DNA off the glass and uses it to produce a child as much yours as if made from your sperm or your egg. There’s more.
The way is open to combine segments of DNA that would never combine on their own, a human heart and blood in the body of a pig, say, offering an endless supply of heart transplants and blood transfusions. Would it stop there? Some scientists would leap at the chance to create their own “Chimera,” the legendary creature part lion, part serpent, part goat. How about a human body with a chimpanzee brain, a gorilla body with a human brain?
In Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, a humble salesman wakes up to discover he’s an insect. Olaf Stapledon’s Sirius is about a dog with the mind of a highly intelligent human. Rafi Zabor’s The Bear Comes Home has a talking bear who plays saxophone and seeks love with a human girlfriend. Philip Wylie’s pre-Superman novel, Gladiator has a protagonist with super strength. Finding no real use for it, he climbs to a mountain top, asks God why?, to be answered by a lightning bolt that strikes him dead.
What is happening now is not fiction; it is the looming future of today’s young adults. It is the world in which their children will grow up. Any country that bans such experiments will quickly fall behind in science. Considering what happens to even the most beneficial scientific discoveries, antibiotics, say, heedlessly dumped into animal feeds producing deadly strains of resistant bacteria, what might be done with this new breakthrough is beyond scary.
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