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Human-Animal Hybrid Ban Introduced in Congress

Posted Oct. 27, 2008 / Posted by: admin

For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Nick Berning, 202-222-0748

Bill draws support from diverse coalition concerned about ethics and safety

WASHINGTON—Senators Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) introduced the Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act on Thursday, November 15, a bill that makes creating part human, part animal beings illegal.

“The science in this area has been advancing so rapidly that we haven’t had a chance to sit back as a society, take a deep breath, and ask ourselves important ethical and environmental questions,” Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder said. “This isn’t some far-flung possibility—it’s happening right now. This could potentially change what it means to be human. Additionally, mixing the genetic material of humans and animals opens a pandora’s box of potential consequences, including threats to human health, such as cross-species disease transmission.”

In the past decade, advancements in genetic technologies have made it possible for scientists to create human-animal hybrids. At Stanford University, scientists are developing the first mouse with human brain cells. In many stem cell labs in the U.S. and abroad, scientists inject human DNA into rabbit and mouse egg cells in order to create “human” embryonic stem cells since human egg cells have become difficult to obtain for stem cell research. This is a way for scientists pursuing human cloning to sidestep current ethical and regulatory barriers.

Currently there is no regulation or oversight for the creation of human-animal hybrids. This bill would prohibit combining human and animal eggs and sperm to create a hybrid embryo, inserting animal DNA into a human embryo, and creating an animal with human reproductive organs or a human brain.

In addition to Friends of the Earth, groups supporting the bill include Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council, the International Center for Technology Assessment, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Representative Chris Smith plans to introduce the same bill in the House in the next few months.

For more information, see the Friends of the Earth factsheet at http://www.foe.org/biotech/Human-Animal_Hybrids.pdf.

 

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