Earlier this month the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced it is planning to lift its ban on federal funding of some research that creates chimeras by injecting human stem cells into animal embryos. The policy change raises significant ethical concerns, both about the prudence of creating animal-human hybrids and legitimacy of using taxpayer funding for such controversial research.
Unfortunately, while many people are unfamiliar with the research, it is not a new development. Chinese scientists began in 2003 by fusing human cells with rabbit eggs to produce the first human-animal chimeras. And a few years later researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood in their veins and scientists at the University of Nevada created sheep whose livers and hearts are largely human.
Thankfully, some Christians have already helped lay the groundwork for how we should think about this research. Almost exactly a decade ago, Acton senior research fellow Jordan Ballor wrote a five part series presenting a biblical-theological case against the creation of certain kinds of human-animal chimeras: Part I, II, III, IV, V.
Christians can’t afford to ignore this issue for another decade, so take the time today to begin developing an informed opinion about this controversy.