Home Overview Press Room Blog Publications For Students about us

UK Scientists to Combine Human, Animal Embryos

[Interviews CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]
CNN Headline News
May 21st, 2008

GLENN BECK: You know, sometimes I get up in the morning and I read the paper and I read a story that, you know, will shock me. Sometimes I read one that really outrages me. Sometimes I read stories that make me pray for the future of mankind. This story does all three.

Lawmakers in the UK have given the green light to plans to combine human embryos with animal embryos. You know, for research. The result, cutely called cy-brids, are embryos that are 99.9 percent human. But they have a law now that these cells have to be destroyed within 14 days, which is just enough time to harvest them for stem cells. Isn`t that great?

You know, if all we ever needed were laws to make sure that everything runs right, then why do we have so many prisons?

Marcy Darnovsky, they`re actually taking a cow embryo and sucking the cow stuff out and putting human stuff in it?

MARCY DARNOVSKY: Well, that`s what some scientists want to do. It`s not clear that there`s a convincing medical or scientific reason for doing that. But it is a good thing that there`s a rule that says that those hybrid embryos have to be destroyed after 14 days. I don`t think they`d be viable anyway.

BECK: Right. I mean, we`re not -- we`re not talking about like, you know, a race of men with udders. I mean...

DARNOVSKY: We hope not.

BECK: Yes, OK.

DARNOVSKY: But the problem -- one of the concerns is that there are a small number but a disturbing number of scientists and people who call themselves bioethicists and others who really do want to go down the road towards genetically re-engineering human beings.

BECK: Yes.

DARNOVSKY: And that sounds like the dangerous one, the one we really need to stay off.

BECK: Marcy, wasn`t this -- I mean, correct me if I`m wrong here -- wasn`t this kind of the idea of genetics, except now -- or eugenics, except now with the technology to do it?

DARNOVSKY: Well, that`s one of the concerns, that there could be a new kind of eugenics. Not like the old kind, where the government is telling you what to do, but a new kind where the market would be convincing us what we should or what we could do or what we have do to keep up with the Joneses.

And that`s really going off in a direction toward a "Gattaca" kind of world where some people are considered superior and some people who are less so. That introduces new kinds of inequalities in a really terrible way.

BECK: And I mean, you would have problems with health insurance, but you`d also -- part of it would be kind of cool because you`d be like, I can run for milk at the store. Let me just -- you know what I`m saying? Dad can make the milk for you.

The -- the 14-day rule before you destroy them, pretty much isn`t this harvesting? I mean, the idea of harvesting anything -- creating life, and then harvesting -- makes it so Peter Singer, it`s spooky.

DARNOVSKY: Well, people have different points of view. My own point of view is I`m not focused on the moral status of embryos. I`m really more worried about the social consequences, about the potential for new kinds of inequality and new kinds of stigmatization and discrimination. And for making this whole thing into a commercial enterprise...


DARNOVSKY: ... making the reproduction of human beings, you know, something for the market.

BECK: Or we could go with the, you know, whole disregard for human life thing. Marcy, thanks a lot.


Add a Comment


home | overview | blog | publications| about us | donate | newsletter | press room | privacy policy

CGS • 1122 University Ave, Suite 100, Berkeley, CA 94702 • • (p) 1.510.665.7760 • (F) 1.510.665.8760