Bioethics Questions Raised by Transgenic Experimentation and Science Fiction Literature
Should humans have the right to create, or breed, animal-human hybrids? This question has been raised often in more mundane contexts (e.g. dogs, even ‘ligers’). However it also takes us into difficult bioethical territory when we consider part-human or human-derived parts in genetic experimentation. In the animal world, the process is often done without concern for the welfare of the creature-in-the-making. Hybrid use runs the spectrum from making money to helping human health in the medical fields. On the medical side, some hybrids are used to grow human parts so that they might be transplanted. Hybrid animals have health issues anchored in breeding, such as infertility, and missing growth genes. Our poster presentation will approach the problem from two directions: reportage on current scientific journal studies (with specific reference to the work of Matthew Haber, Bryan Benham, Tia Sherringham, Jason Eberl and others, to consider the implications of transgenic animals and the ethics of part-human research), and open discussion of bioethical questions on the topic raised by classic and current science fiction (i.e. Wells’ Island of Dr. Moreau, Collins’ The Hunger Games, and Atwood’s Oryx and Crake trilogy).
Keywords: transgenic, part-human, human-derived, bioethics, hybrid breeding