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53 Pig/human crossbreeds made.

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A new, simple technique, developed by Mairaluisa Lavitrano at the University of Milan-Bicocca, has improved xenotransplant yields (the number of young with foreign genes) from about 4% to up to 88%. In short, she can regularly and reliably introduce human genes into pigs, who then express the human genes.

Further information about this technology can be found at:

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With all the furry cheering over genetic engineering, this seems like the first step towards making anthropomorphics an actual reality. From the New Scientist article, the technique seems to bind genes where they will actually be expressed. True, this does only affect the sperm cell, and thus severe modifications may even cause the genome to be half-formed and thus unviable. However...it seems possible to gradually change DNA over several generations to actually create a furry species.

The ethical questions are: 1) What if it doesn't go the way one plans? What is the morality of trying to create a species with human-level intelligence (or greater, even!) and failing horribly? How would we deal with that?

2) How would world politics handle success and the creation of animal-like species with human intelligence and speech capabilities? My guess is, they'd be treated as just animals, with no rights--just the opposite of what it should be. But you know humans. Xenophobic to the core. Yet capable of change. Just look at America...my country...where there's a lot of mistakes being made. Our country was founded on change. Like a scientific theory, our very Constitution carries within it the seeds of its own remaking. We're all making a lot of mistakes now. Let's hope we can learn from them.

Smile! The world could use another happy person.

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2) How would world politics handle success and the creation of animal-like species with human intelligence and speech capabilities? My guess is, they'd be treated as just animals, with no rights--just the opposite of what it should be.

Check out the Moreaux series by Andrew Swann for a look at precisely this scenario (or rather, the aftermath - rights were finally recognized, but now there's a royal social mess amidst other troubles).

Interestingly, the same concerns come up with sapient AIs, which in my opinion are more likely to be produced first.

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What is the morality of trying to create a species with human-level intelligence (or greater, even!) and failing horribly? How would we deal with that?

I don't know. Pigs are pretty damn smart to begin with, and vicious (well, wouldn't you be if you kept being killed for food by us?)
I just hope no one gives them hands!

Melissa "MelSkunk" Drake

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"With all the furry cheering over genetic engineering, this seems like the first step towards making anthropomorphics an actual reality."

Not realy a step towards that. Remember, the diference between Human DNA and Chimpanzee is only 1%. So that 4% is actualy very very large.

Genetic Engineering is escentialy currently just random husbandary taken on a genetic level. We *dont know* what a set of DNA 'instructions' will do inside another animal untill we put them in, and DNA is not the only method of inheretence. And at the moment we can not fix any problems, or write new 'code'.

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While 4% (as has been said) is a huge genetic gap, at some point we're going to have to define where a pig ends and a human begins. It might look like a pig, think like a pig, and act like a pig, but at what point is it a pig/human hybrid -- a new species -- and no longer just a pig with some human genes being expressed?

We're wading into a hazy gray area, and I'll be facinated to see where we go with it.

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I agree with the sapient AIs being intrduced first... the odd thing is that I think that would be the ultimate test to see how humankind would react to a creature that could think, communicate, etc. like itself, yet be different in some fundamental way... which brings up another question: Religion! People might say that a furry species has no soul, and therefore discriminate even more against said species, as well as AIs...

I myself would be inclined to say that the soul would be tied to sentience and self awareness... therefore, a machine which gained sentience and a furry creature that was given sentience would be basically in the same boat...


Art copyrighted by Nightcat

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I don't know. Pigs are pretty damn smart to begin with, and vicious (well, wouldn't you be if you kept being killed for food by us?)

I just hope no one gives them hands!

[Thinks back to that "Mail-Order Monsters" game...]

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Chip_Unicorn (Brent Edwards)read storiescontact (login required)

an Unicorn from Seattle, WA

The truth will make you fret.