View Full Version : Science Fiction???

01-14-2001, 01:50 PM
Here's sort of a hot topic I guess. Anyone read about the monkey that was injected with the jellyfish gene? (if you haven't, honest it's true!!) They say the monkey will "glow" in time. I know, it sounds like science fiction. It sort of creeps me out that "they" are doing things like that. I know probably not many people on this board have monkeys (but maybe some do), but I was wondering how you would feel if this type of experimenting was done on dogs and/or cats? http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/eek.gif

01-14-2001, 02:36 PM
Here is a picture of the monkey

[This message has been edited by HowieDawn (edited January 14, 2001).]

01-14-2001, 02:47 PM
Here are some sites that give info on ANDi

01-14-2001, 03:00 PM
The monkey was not "injected" with the jellyfish gene. It's a clone.

To get back to your topic. I think all of this cloning business is crazy. ANDi is the first primate that they have cloned. What will be next. I don't think that scientist believe that animals actually have "feelings."

I have mixed emotions about experiments like this. My maternal grandmother has Alzheimers. It is sad to see her go day by day getting worse. And there is nothing that we can do about it. It is awful to walk into a room and your grandmother have no clue who you are, or think that you are her mother. So...If you look at it from that point, then I am all for it. Then I think of it from the animal's point of view. I think that they are very close to finding a cure to a whole lot of diseases.

As for the cats and dogs. I don't think that they would go that far using them. Since they are looking for something that has genes close to a human.
At least I hope that they don't start using cats/dogs

01-14-2001, 03:22 PM
HowieDawn....I first saw this on Good Morning America on Friday. The science editor, Michael Gillan (sp?) used the term injection and showed a graphic of the gene being injected into Andi (which means Injected DNA, backwards).

I know that this whole topic is very thought provoking and emotional. I am the first to want to see cures for so many of the diseases that affect us as humans, and am very sorry to hear of your grandmother's Alzheimer's. It has to be a tremendously difficult experience for you and so saddening to see her that way. I know that without experimenting on animals we wouldn't have made many of the advances that we have made today. I guess what I am thinking is that it sort of scares me to see the manipulating that man can do of species that were designed differently by their creator. We are at the point where our knowledge is getting us into situations that previous generations would never have dreamed of. I agree that cats and dogs probably will not be used (at least in the near future) in this way because the monkey is closer to us genetically. Anyway, thank you for your input. It is a fascinating and scary topic to ponder.

01-14-2001, 03:27 PM
Pam, I still think that it is weird that they put a "glow in the dark" gene in the monkey. I was reading something and it said that there is something in jellyfish that could cure diseases. I would have liked to see the show on Friday. I hadn't heard of this before yesterday. I was "watching" my grandmother and read it in the paper. It's all new (and weird) to me.

01-14-2001, 04:24 PM
Hi, I had read the story, and seen a picture of Andi, who looks, in normal light, like a normal little monkey. It is only under certain light that he will eventually "glow" so it certainly won't affect his day-to-appearance or self-esteem! The insertion didn't "hurt," as "ANDi received an extra gene while he was still an unfertilized egg."

I am against things like testing cosmetics on animals, and other cruelties done for the purpose of human vanity. But some scientists hope that, for example, if the "glowy" gene could be somehow inserted in certain tissue, it might make a surgeon's task of removing a tumor, for example, easier - just turn on the blacklight and cut out the glowy bits!

This is, of course, an over-simplification. But I honestly believe that some diseases that we know can be genetically-based, like some kinds of Alzheimers, or some kinds of ALS, (Lou Gehrig's disease) could be eliminated, or at least their impact lessened. I picked those two examples because I have dealt with loved ones with both those diseases. If testing that is not needlessly cruel to the animal can be done toward eliminating these diseases, I am all for it.

I also, of course, would be ready to adopt little ANDi if he needed a home when the testing was over, but I suspect he already has had many offers from those who saw him born, and worked to create him!

Here's where I may get a bit controversial - as for creating people with certain physical characteristics, don't we already do this by procreating with people to whom we are attracted? I know one woman who, fifty years ago, decided she didn't like being short, so wouldn't even date men under 5'10 or so. Her husband is 6' 1". As a result, her sons are much taller than she, as she wished. Is this not, in effect, genetic selection? http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

01-14-2001, 07:06 PM
To start with let me say that this subject is one that has me going insane on a daily basis - there are potentially huge benefits to the human race but at what cost? So if I get a bit irate please understand that I am not having a go at anybody - just thinking out loud.
The monkey you are all talking about has ceased to be an animal with a future. Any talk of adoption and life after the lab is wishful thinking I'm afraid. The companies involved in the research can not afford to let this animal go to any home, any where, ever. The genetic material within him is just too valuable - it's not going to happen, when they have finished with him the most likely outcome is life in a cage in the lab to see if mucking around with the gentic code has any side effects. Dolly, the sheep, was the first animal cloned in this country and after two or three years it was noticed that she was ageing way too fast.
Genetically modified crops are being tested in this country with "safe" areas between them and normally grown and propagated crops. In America the same system has already seen the extinction of at least one species of moth.
I do believe that this technology has the best potential to help the world but we should all be aware that this is not going to be the outcome - it is, in the end, finacially motivated. Companies that are manipulating DNA are only going to sell what they learn to the highest bidder. The spin that gene modification is going to solve world hunger? - We've been manipulating the genetic code of plants and animals for thousands of years and have the ability now to feed the world, it hasn't happened because people only sell to the companies that can pay the most and they then hoard that information until they can improve on it and sell it on.
My main concern is that is all going too fast - the only research done on genetically modified crops is done in the open air - cross pollenation can and has happened.
We are now doing the same with animals with no idea what the risks are.
Don't believe that dogs and cats aren't part of this - they are - as are pigs, cows, rats and mice.
To finish this particular post here is something to think about - if penicillan had been tested on Guinea Pigs it would of been thought to of been a poison as it kills them - something we think of as a basic medical drug and so many other anti biotics have been developed from it...........
It was a lucky guess - with this technology we are changing the very fabric of life itself and we have no idea what the consequences may be.

Daisy's Mom
01-14-2001, 08:34 PM
I agree with Karen. If the testing can cure diseases like that, test away. My father has ALS and it is incredibly difficult to watch what it does to him. He's in the hospital right now after his tracheotomy. Life is difficult for him and for my family, and a cure would mean so much to us! I also do not agree on cosmetic testing on animals, or with using genetic testing to make people look a certain way... but testing for cures of diseases is okay with me! I agree, this is a contrversial subject. Last year with my biology class we went to a 6-hour conference on genetic testing (I must admit I almost fell asleep for most of it - I mean, 6 hours of gene talk? No thanks....) but some parts were interesting and they gave me hope. Scientists really are closer to cures for a lot of diseases, and the things they can do now are amazing. After the conference we had a debate in class and everyone's different opinions were very interesting. It's a great debate topic. Anyway, if we can test only to fix the big problems in the world, I don't think it will do too much harm. Carrie, I see your point of view too and sometimes I think the tests scientists do on animals are useless, just to see what would happen. But tests that can help humans with the diseases they suffer from really can help, and I say go for it!

[This message has been edited by Daisy's Mom (edited January 14, 2001).]

01-14-2001, 09:54 PM
We can all think of Science Fiction-type nightmare horrors, and see who can come up with the scariest scenario, however, let's not!

I know that Dolly the sheep has shown premature signs of aging - if that can somehow either be studied, so we understand more about the aging process on a cellular level, okay. If not, then scientists now know more about simple cloning than they did before, and that is a good thing, even if they are diappointed with the results. I know that little ANDi will probably never be available for adoption. I hope he has a good and healthy life, anyway.

I think we should always be careful, and urge those experimenting to be careful. We need to proceed with caution with any new technology, and not expect too much too soon. That said, if they can cure ALS in time to help those who now suffer, so be it! We have the technology to destroy all of humanity many times over - but we haven't, yet. We cannot stop the march of time, but we can make sure what we have control over is done responsibly.

I grew up reading science fiction, and am not afraid of robots or technology despite it. My heart goes out to Daisy's Mom - sweetie, I have been where you are now. I will email you more than I need to say about that in a public forum. As we have harnessed fire, and steam, and the internal combustion engine, we should be careful that we watch, learn and insist that genetic testing be done responsibly.

Fortunately, there are as many definitions of beauty as there are human beings - I hope that ensures genetic diversity for a long time to come. We need to be careful, but I also think we need to try to help people as best we can.

I know corporations are driven by profit - but they are staffed by human beings. There is our hope.

01-14-2001, 10:19 PM
What great minds visit this board! I have enjoyed reading each and every post and must say that if this is a cross-section of the world (I was going to say America until Carrie responded http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif) than I will worry less about the whole thing. I think we just need to make sure that there are "watchdogs" out there to make sure this doesn't spin out of control and we wind up doing what we perceive as a "good thing" for the "wrong reasons." Carrie, I must agree with you..... money drives people and countries and you have most definitely hit on something that I hadn't considered before.

01-14-2001, 10:30 PM
You are all bright, insightful people and have opened some of our eyes to subjects we hadn't even thought of. Thank you all for such a moving discussion.

01-15-2001, 09:41 AM
I've tried, really I have, to restrain myself and not be a bore but.....

The research being done is not to manipulate the existing genetic material of ALS patients but to introduce genetic material from an outside source to repair damage.

There is a religious cult in America that believe all human life was started by aliens using cloning technology. They are a huge organisation with enormous funding and scientific research facilities. They have now been given skin cells taken from a two year old girl who died several years ago and are being paid to clone her "twin" by her parents.
If you have the technology people will have very different ideas of what is a good use for it.
My fears are based on the speed that this has slipped into normal life with little or no information on the consequences. We had gentically engineered food in our shops for months before we were told about it and then it took many more months for any sort of labelling to inform us what foods were natural and which were engineered. I want to choose and if the authorities are not giving me a choice with what I eat I am less than trustful of their regulating abilities.

4 feline house
01-16-2001, 02:58 AM
Boy, Pam, you have opened up a subject that has conflicted me for decades now.

On one hand, I abhor animal testing and experimentation for any reason. I don't know what makes us think that just because we have opposible thumbs we are superior. God watches over even the lowly sparrow. Also, genetic manipulation of any sort for any reason scares me because I think we are getting dangerously close to playing God when we play with his building blocks.

On the other hand, I would be DEAD now if Minkowski had not removed that pancreas from that dog looking to study fat digestion, discovering instead the cause of diabetes. And I take recombinant DNA origin insulin every day. This is cow or pig insulin genetically altered to be identical to human insulin, to eliminate reactions and complications caused from injecting a substance from a foreign species in my body, thus enabling me to live healthier and longer.

I am conflicted.

Where I have no conflict, though, is experiemntation whose sole pupose is to satisfy someone's curiosity. I once saw a picture of a cat with permanent electrodes implanted in its brain. It was artificially, but permanently, in a state of REM so the experimenters could study dreams. Because so many people die from dreaming! The writer of the article nonchalantly stated the cat would be destroyed when the experiments were completed. This was not put out by PETA (whose motives are noble but whose methods I sometimes question) and it was not very long ago that I saw this (some 10-20 year ago). I also don't believe in genetic manipulation to produce a superior human. The analogies to selective mating are not quite the same, because it is still left largely up to nature, and no "inferior" embryos are destroyed in the process. And I doubt many diseases will be eliminated by genetic selection, because these diseases originate through mutations, anyway. I had always heard diabetes was a genetic disease, so I questioned my doctor's diagnosis, as there was no diabetes in my family. His answer was "the gene has got to mutate somewhere". Genetic THERAPY may eventually prove to be some benefit, but I really doubt genetic MANIPULATION will eliminate any disease. Those genes will just keep mutating.

To sum it up, I think we, collectively as human beings, need to ponder ALL the ramifications - actual benefit to humans, as well as all factors that bear on it - financial, moral, spiritual, natural. It's a heavy thing for our little minds to grasp.

01-16-2001, 05:21 AM
4FelineHouse....You have spoken well and I couldn't agree more. There are just some areas I guess where it is not "black and white." One that readily comes to mind is the abortion issue. Even those who feel abortion is wrong because life begins at conception (I am one) have some trouble with that particular life if it is a result of a rape. (Hypocrisy? Yes, and I guess I am guilty of it in this case). Then again there is the capital punishment issue (boy can that get heated). I just thought the whole ANDI issue would be an interesting topic for the Forum to discuss because we all love animals and hate to see them used in the lab, but we love our own lives too and have benefitted from animal testing. It is a subject that we, as mortals, have struggled with and will continue to struggle with but dialog must go on, lest we get into areas down the road where we have crossed the line (and that line gets more blurred every day).

01-16-2001, 04:38 PM
Just want to add one more dimension to this discussion.

Science fiction has been mentioned as have nightmares and I want to point out that what the world believed was science fiction was, in fact, a living breathing creature. It had been for seven months before anybody knew that man had become creator of animal life. This was Dolly the sheep and by the time we knew about her she was old news in the cloning world - it makes me wonder what else has been around for seven months or even longer that we have no idea of. How can we have an informed view when we don't have the information?

01-16-2001, 04:58 PM
Wow! Another excellent point to ponder Carrie!!!! Does makes you wonder what's going on "behind the scenes!"

01-22-2001, 04:42 PM
Our House of Lords has just allowed the cloning of human embryos for research - it will take nine months for this law to grant license for companies to go ahead but....
It was expected the House of Lords would block this.
This now means that the research can go ahead on "spare" embryos from IVF treatment.
Are we talking people here - or spare babies - or just a few spare cells?
I don't know!
Sorry - I realise that this is not a PET topic - it just is very related.
Should we stop this subject here? Is it more suited to other sites or are you interested?
I feel a little uncomfortable putting it here as I don't think this is what this site is for - but I am happy to go on discussing it if others are. Karen and Paul, what do you think?

[This message has been edited by carrie (edited January 22, 2001).]