When looking into the subject of cyborgs, one of the most interesting things in my opinion is that of the Chimera. A Chimera is an organism whose cells are derived from two or more zygotes, thus a living combination of two creatures. Of course, our technology isn’t far enough to create specimens of Chimera’s like described in the Greek mythology with heads of different animals growing over their entire body, yet we are steadily advancing in successfully mingling organisms together. This raises the question of how far we wish to go. What things do we want to achieve for the good of mankind, and what things do we simply want to achieve in the name of science? For this, let’s especially focus on Human-Animal chimeras, which is one of the most controversial subjects within the Chimera experiments.
One of the biggest advantages of a Human-Animal chimera would be its huge benefit for the medical sector. In 2005, it was proven possible to stifle a cat allergy in mice by injecting the mice with a certain feline protein. In theory, this could also be done with humans. This means that one could easily put a halt to an extreme cat allergy, by simply partly ‘becoming cat’. Another advantage is that of possible human organ growth. With the right technology, animals could be implanted with certain human genes to grow those organs. By harvesting these organs, countless lives could be saved. However, this brings with it an ethical question, is this alright to do?
Continuing where we left off at the advantages, we find ourselves stuck in the ethical question of meddling with life. Is this something that should be done in the first place, especially when it comes too close to creating creatures like us? In 2021, the first Human-Monkey Hybrids were created. Even though they were not born as living breathing creatures, it was clear that the Human-Animal Chimera future might be closer than expected. After the experiment, one of the biggest worries seemed to be that animals that looked like humans, with the same intelligence and power of reproduction, might be created in the future.
What will the Future bring?
When looking at both the advantages and the disadvantages, it shows that the arguments in favor of Human-Animal Chimeras are mainly rational arguments that prove that in theory, those Chimeras could have huge benefits. The arguments against Human-Animal Chimeras are mainly based on feelings and ethics. Is it really alright to meddle with life? Who are we to decide what kind of creatures will be born on this planet?
Also apparent is the fear of going too far in the Chimera process. For both the anti-allergy and the organ growth, there are no highly advanced chimeras needed. The question is, once we have achieved that, will science stop? I imagine that scientists will always want to try out how far the possibilities go, even if it means it is no longer especially useful for humanity. When thinking about this issue, I was instantly reminded of a series I had watched years ago. There, a scientist specialized in animal Chimeras was so obsessed about making a talking Chimera, he eventually decided to fuse his own daughter with their dog. This Girl-Dog Chimera turned out as a zombie-like abomination in a state of constant suffering. This is, of course, an extreme and fictional example, yet it does show that there should be limits to science.
Personally, I do think merging with cats to solve an allergy is a great thing, however, I do not think humanity needs catgirls.