We Can Create a Green Rat, But Can We Create a Scientist With a Conscience?
In "Rats Born to Mice in Bizarre Lab Work," on Live Science, Charles Q. Choi reports that reproductive biologist Takashi Shinohara and his colleagues at Kyoto University have successfully removed sperm from rats, implanted them in the testicles of mice, then injected them into rat eggs. According to Choi:
None of the flourescent green rat pups born–yes, they are really green–displayed any abnormalities, genetic or otherwise. Moreover, they grew up to become fertile adults.
Here’s my question: Why doesn’t Choi (I know he’s just the messenger, but he did write the above sentences) consider it abnormal to create a creature that would not ever exist without a world of technology? Rats and mice are different species, and for some education about the lengths we’ve already gone to to try to create a rat-mouse hybrid (and the results), click here.
My favorite part of the article is the final paragraph, where the scientist, Shinohara, says that "it is not a good idea" to extrapolate his results to "the possibility of growing human sperm in other animals to generate viable human offspring."
Why isn’t it a good idea, you ask?
Besides the ethical issues, [Shinohara] noted there are viruses present in animals that could write themselves into genetic codes of the human sperm.
So there you have it. We can create anything we want in a laboratory, as long as it doesn’t put people at risk. Animals are merely tools.
Ethics apply only to humans.