Yes, I wrote the word ‘Chimera’, the same word used in the movie Mission Impossible II. In the movie, ‘Chimera’ is a bioterrorism agent that becomes active when two viral agents come together.
By definition, the word Chimera refers to a Greek mythological animal composed of parts from different animals.
Chimera research on a genetic level that has been closely scrutinized by the NIH and with good reason. Any research involving the use of human stem cells has to be regulated strictly for scientific and ethical reasons.
While ethics may be seen as a hinderance by some towards scientific advancement, it is important to have it nonetheless. Remember the South Korean scientist who claimed he had clones humans couple of years ago and it was found out later that he had falsified his data along with erroneous practices in data collection, well, now he is cloning dogs for $100,000 at his institute.
The NIH is worried about what could happen on an ethical level if two rats or mice carrying a human embryo and sperm cells in a laboratory mate by mistake resulting in a human embryo being formed inside of a female rat.
Wait, what? Yes, scientists in an effort to get other species to grow human organs for transplant patients have been experimenting genetically to get human stem cells to grow inside a rat. Imagine, if you had an unlimited source of human stem cells that do not need to be harvested from humans which circumvents every legal loophole, but allows for millions of humans to fix and cure diseases or have organs at your disposal for transplants.
Yes, absolutely the intentions are great, but what will happen if one mistake is made and a human embryo grows by mistake inside a rat. This is a possibility that the NIH wants to absolutely avoid.
Let me give you an example of the possible benefits. Human stem cells can grow into any human cell given the right genetic signals.
This in essence, if you can afford it, is the eternal fountain of youth. Your own stem cells being grown for you in another animal, ready to be used when you need to harvest them for an extra liver or kidney or heart. No immune reactions leading to organ rejection from your body because the genetic code is the same.
For me, I would want my own human stem cells to be turned into young neurons which have a higher degree of plasticity granting me the intelligence from 20 years ago.
Then my goal achieving fluency in 9 languages using Rosetta stone will take much lesser time.
Imagine!!!!! But, one must remember that with every great idea, there are possibly a lot of pitfalls which calls for ethicists and scientists along with law makers to get together and regulate.
Lest, we decide to play Icarus and race towards the sun and then fall down,
Lest, an accident happens and that Greek mythological creature becomes a reality.
Chimera, no chimera, there is always a monster lurking in us that begs to come out in a reality where there are no rules and that is a world that can become real if agencies like the NIH did not regulate.
From the scientific viewpoint, there are so many strategies in place to prevent mistakes and they too should be given a voice.