Scientist Says British Human Cloning Bill Would Allow Human-Chimp Mating

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 2, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Scientist Says British Human Cloning Bill Would Allow Human-Chimp Mating

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 2
, 2008

London, England ( — A leading scientist says the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill the British parliament is considering is so grisly that it would allow scientists to mate humans and chimps. Dr. Calum MacKellar says he’s worried the bill, which promotes human cloning, would allow interspecies mating.

MacKellar, director of research at the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, says he worries the bill would open the door for the "humanzee," created by breeding apes and humans.

He told the Scotsman newspaper that he thinks a new species could theoretically be born if the bill allows the grisly science to move forward.

"The Human Fertilisation and Embryo Bill prohibits the placement of animal sperm into a woman. The reverse is not prohibited. It’s not even mentioned. This should not be the case," he explained.

If the process isn’t banned, he worried scientists are likely to try it.

While mating humans and other species wouldn’t be successful, MacKellar told the newspaper he thinks it would work with apes since their DNA most closely resembles that of human beings.

"If you put human sperm into a frog it would probably create an embryo, but it probably wouldn’t go very far," he said. "But if you do it with a non-human primate it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that it could be born alive."

He said the result of the crazy experiments could be a debate about whether the "humanzee" had legal rights and whether the new species should be exploited for its organs for patients.

American bioethicist Wesley Smith says, "Of course they should outlaw putting human sperm into animal eggs."

And he worries what would happen if that wasn’t prohibited in the UK as evidenced by MacKellar’s concern that "mad scientists" exist within the field.

"And therein lies the rub: If he is right–and I have my doubts–but, if it is true, then it means that a significant percentage of life scientists accept no reasonable limits on their experimentation, which will eventually require society to force them to cease and desist," he explained.

"And then we will hear the squawking from the Science Establishment about how the great unwashed are restricting freedom of inquiry," Smith concluded.