Half man, half chimp - should we beware the Apeman's coming?
A LEADING scientist has warned a new species of "Humanzee",
created from breeding apes with humans, could become a reality.
In fact producing a Humanzee,
an Ape Human hybrid is quite legal.
Although the Human Fertilisation and Embryo Bill prohibits the placement of animal sperm into a woman.
The reverse is not prohibited. In fact its not even mentioned.
Dr Calum MacKellar, director of research at the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, warned the controversial draft Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill did not prevent human sperm being inseminated into animals.
He said if a female chimpanzee was inseminated with human sperm the two species would be closely enough related, that a hybrid could be born.
So could a half Man half Chimp, Humanzee
breed really be possible?
Yes says Dr MacKellar. He said: "The chromosomal difference between a goat and a sheep, a Shoat
is greater than between humans and chimpanzees."
Professor Bob Millar, director of the Medical Research Council Human Reproductive Sciences Unit, based in Edinburgh, agreed. Viable offspring would be possible. He said: "Donkeys can mate with horses and create infertile offspring; maybe that could happen with chimpanzees."
Professor Hugh McLachlan, professor of applied philosophy at Glasgow Caledonian University's School of Law and Applied Sciences, said although the idea was "troublesome", he could see no ethical objections to the creation of Humanzees.
Any species came to be what it is now because of all sorts of interaction in the past," he said.
Dr MacKellar said the resulting Humanzee's
could raise ethical dilemmas, such as whether it would be treated as human or animal, and what rights it would have.
If there was a possibility of Humanzees
developing a conscience, you would have a difficult dilemma on your hands."
There are a number of other hybrid species that have already been created, using only artificial insemination.
Lions and tigers have been bred to create Ligers,
the world's largest cats.
And there are also Zorses
(zebra and horse), Wholphins
(whale and dolphin), Tigons,
(tiger and lion), Lepjags
(leopard and jaguar) and Zonkeys,
(zebra and donkey).
Most hybrid animals have been bred in captivity, but there are
examples of the process occurring in the wild.
This is far more common in plants than animals, but in April 2006 a hunter in Canada's North-west Territories shot a polar bear whose fur had an orange tint.
Research showed that it had a grizzly bear father, and it became known as a Pizzly
In 2003, DNA analysis confirmed that five odd-looking felines found in Maine and Minnesota were bobcat-lynx hybrids, dubbed blynxes.
Dr MacKellar said, fascination might be enough of a motive for
scientists to try crossing the two species, to produce a Humanzee.http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/latestnews/Exclusive-Half-man-half-chimp.4028970.jp