Chimera in Ancient Greek Mythology

Quinn Summerville, Journalist

In Ancient Greece, the Chimera was said to be a destructive creature: part goat, part lion, part snake. It was only a Demigod who could defeat it. Now, Chimeras are being grown on US research facilities. The Human-Animal Chimera is a creature created in a lab, using an animal embryo, and placing human tissue inside of it. This can grow human organs and cells inside of other species, such as pigs. Although not of the same makeup as the Chimeras of mythology, some spectate that these creatures could be just as harmful.

Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, who led the work on the pig-human embryos at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, said, “The ultimate goal is to grow functional and transplantable tissue or organs, but we are far away from that. This is an important first step.” Although scientists like Belmonte concur that these experiments can benefit mankind, others question the ethics. 

“Folks, I have hundreds of articles I see every week about human-animal chimeras with no rights,” Alex Jones, a syndicated conspiracy theorist and radio talk show host of InfoWars, a conservative Internet news show. “You talked about people you know in research labs, I’ve talked to them too. You see humanoids, they’re like 80% gorilla, or 80% pig, and they’re talking.” 

Jones and other skeptics question not only the ethics of meddling with nature, but the rights of the animal-human chimeras.  

Although the National Institute of Health placed a temporary hold on human-animal Chimeras in September of 2015, the moratorium was later retracted in August of 2016, creating more guidelines catering to the ethical concerns of critics.  

WND reported  February 4th, 2018, that “Currently, Japan permits only the injection of cells, such as human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), into fertilized animal eggs. A panel of experts approved the transplantation of the resulting embryos into the uteruses of animals and the resulting offspring. Animals such as pigs are being considered for the procedure because the sizes of their organs are close to those of humans.” They go one to report further that,  “The panel also approved research to produce human brain cells, eggs and sperm, but it maintained a ban on the creation of animals with high cognitive abilities similar to humans.”

However, Jones and others who share his position are not satisfied. Jones’s online news website, InfoWars, released in an article entitled, THE ERA OF HUMAN-ANIMAL HYBRID CHIMERAS HAS BEGUN, when referring to scientists who plan to use these hybrids to create superhuman powers for themselves, “…in their relentless pursuit of this very foolish dream they are racing toward genetic Armageddon, and they are opening up a Pandora’s box of horrors that they simply do not understand.” 

This brings forth the idea quoted so famously in the 1993 movie Jurassic Park: Are we so preoccupied in whether or not we could do something that we didn’t care to stop and think of whether or not we should?