Speed limit raised on highway to genetic engineering

By WND Staff

An artistic depiction of a chimera.
An artistic depiction of a chimera.

There are a couple of dictionary definitions of the word “chimera.”

One dates back to Greek mythology – a fire-breathing female monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail.

The other is “a thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve.”

But with the U.S. federal government preparing to open wide the spigot for funding of research to investigate the of injecting animal embryos with human stem cells, creating half-human half-animal hybrids, some in Washington apparently are banking on achieving the impossible.

Either that, or they have given the green light to breed monsters.

Earlier this month, the National Institutes of Health announced the agency is requesting public comment on expanding the kind of experimentation that could create “chimeras.”

Carrie D. Wolinetz, NIH’s associate director for science, announced Thursday in a blog post that the agency is requesting public comment on expanding fund said the development of “these types of human-animal organism … holds tremendous potential for disease modeling, drug testing, and perhaps eventual organ transplant. I am confident that these proposed changes will enable the NIH research community to move this promising area of science forward in a responsible manner.”

Meanwhile, this kind of experimentation is not just going on in the U.S.

Experiments involving genetically engineered animals have nearly tripled in Germany in the past 10 years, driven by a burgeoning global industry that involves inventing and patenting genetically altered species for scientific research, says a new study commissioned by Germany’s Green Party and conducted by the research group Testbiotech.

The Green Party is not happy about the prospects, suggesting opposition to the expansion of such programs is broadening into what could be a coalition between left and right. While the attacks from the left focus mainly on animal cruelty concerns, the more muted attacks from the right focus on concerns about the sanctity of human life and biblical prohibitions against attempting to breed different kinds of animals (Leviticus 19:19).

Is this the final assault on the Creation of God? Find out in “Pandemonium’s Engine” edited by Tom Horn.

The study released last week by the Green Party and shared with Süddeutsche Zeitung and newspapers owned by Germany’s Funke Mediengruppe, found that nearly 950,000 animals were subjected to experiments in Germany in 2013 alone, and a full third of those involved genetically modified animals.

The genomes of mice, rats, and fish are being tinkered with the most, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung, but rabbits and pigs are popular choices, too.

In contrast to conventional animal testing, the research on genetically manipulated animals is especially deadly, says Silke Strittmatter of the organization Doctors Against Animal Experiments: “We can safely assume that up to 54 animals die for the creation of a single genetically modified animal.” To achieve the desired outcome, scientists must experiment with many variations, which in many cases involves breeding multiple generations and then killing them. In this fashion, the number of genetically altered animals is increasing, despite the fact that in the last two years, for the first time the number of animals used for traditional experimental trials has fallen.

A race to patent and profit from genetically modified species is driving the growing global market for such creatures, observes the German newspaper: “Researchers patent altered animals, such as ‘knockout mice,’ and sign license deals with corporations, which in turn aggressively market the animals to laboratories – as “custom-manipulated rodents,” for example.”

The newspaper report continued: “In the USA, biotech corporations market patented animals aggressively. … Then describes a downright ‘price war.’ Patents for new genetic engineering techniques then lead to more animal trials. In recent years, patent applications were even submitted for genetically modified primates and great apes – and some of those were approved. It is for this reason that the speaker for the Green faction on genetic engineering, Harald Ebner, is calling for a Europe-wide ban on patents on living things. Ebner also told Süddeutsche Zeitung that he fears so-called ‘free trade’ deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will lead to the worldwide dispersal of products from genetically modified animals.”

The paper reported that “meat and other products from genetically modified animals cannot be sold in Germany. […] In other countries, however, among other things scientists are experimenting with altering the ingredients of milk by changing the genes of cows. For such experiments, embryos must be genetically altered and then implanted in a surrogate. The Testbiotech study notes that these experiments often involve pain and suffering, as such laboratory animals are frequently killed in order to remove cells or the genetically modified embryo.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. government continues to fight for pro-GMO legislation. President Obama recently signed into law a corporate-friendly GMO-labeling bill.

He also nullified the [GMO] seed labeling laws in Vermont and Virginia that allowed farmers to choose what seeds they wanted to buy and plant. In addition, the new law pre-empted Alaska’s law requiring the labeling of any [GMO] fish or fish product, passed to protect the state’s vital fisheries from contamination by recently approved genetically engineered salmon.

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