Thursday, February 2, 2006

Human-animal hybrids

Human-Animal Hybrids

Everyone got a laugh when President Bush mentioned banning human-animal hybrids during his State of the Union address. Kieran Healy reminds us that a human-animal hybrid already exists, and in fact serves a vital purpose.

Its job is to slave away producing a substance that millions of people use routinely. That substance is insulin. Virtually the entire commercial supply these days is produced by genetically modified e-coli bacteria that contain human DNA, live in a fungal substrate and secrete human insulin. I take it that the President isn’t planning to put every Type I Diabetic in America into hypoglycemic shock. I don’t think it would be a popular policy plank.

Knee-jerk hysteria about genetic engineering distracts people from the benefits, real and potential, it provides to people in need.

[via Crooked Timber]


  1. What do you think about human animal hybrids. Should similar research be allowed or banned?

  2. The point of the post was that there are already human-animal hybrids, such as the bacteria that produce human insulin.

    I don't think any research should be banned that gives due consideration to the desires of its subjects. There is nothing about human-animal hybridization that makes it inherently any different than any other research, other than the "yuck factor."