Cloned human embryos have been fused with rabbit eggs in an effort to find a new source of stem cells. The team of scientists from the Shanghai Medical University have already come under scrutiny for this "mad science" as one bystander remarked, yet this is a significant step in the search for embryonic stem cells.
At present, the stem cells are found in fertilized human embryos, which must be destroyed to make the harvest. Activists claim that this is a premature end to a potential human life; a cause for both uproar and debate over most stem cell research. Hui Zhen Sheng's work is unlikely to halt this debate, even though most of the science world seem to think that the new embryos won't develop much beyond the earliest stages of development.
"I don't think it's for the good of the humans" one bystander said, "they're forging brand new hybrid armies of rabbit people". But opinions like this are for the foolish. The cells contain only trace amounts of rabbit DNA in the mitochondria; purely for the chemical powering of the cells. The cells are also able to transform into any tissue, which would make them useful in combating diseases.
Success in such an area points to the hybrid cells as being "beneficial" to the humans.
Written on Monday, 18 August 2003