Człowieko-zwierzęce hybrydy i chimery w nauce. Historia i współczesność
Human-animal hybrids and chimeras in science: history and today
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This article reviews the history and present state of research on the creation of human-animal hybrids and chimeras. The idea has been present in culture since ancient times and was picked up by scientists a long time before breakthroughs in DNA were made. Scientific experiments in the field of chimerization and hybridization are a continuation of thought experiments expressed in a variety of cultural texts and artefacts throughout the history of mankind. The author reviews the scientific implementation of this ancient idea – from simple transplants between different species and different sexes to xenotransplantation and further on to genetic engineering. Today’s development of individual stem cells therapies and the production of new medicines and healthcare products are claimed to be the goal of such research, yet in the future, “upgrades” (enhancement) of people with animal genes and the transfer of selected biological characteristics to the human species will become realistic possibilities. Due to the unpredictable consequences of such research, both concerning individuals and humankind, such a prospect raises serious concern among scientists. As a result, questions appear regarding the potential threat to humankind, which in turn calls for the revision of the concept and development of a new vision of who “man” is in this age of biotechnology.
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