Genetic Engineering

June 19, 1998

In Greek mythology, the chimera was part lion, part goat, part dragon, and this creature terrorized the country Lycia. In real life, a chimera is a genetically engineered creature created from the DNA of different species. The chimera of the Greeks may have been a myth, but it's a myth no longer.

Today making chimeras is no longer science fiction; it's science fact. Through the process known as DNA recombinant research, scientists are able to splice genes together from different species that would never mate in real life. Many of these minor modifications are beneficial and provide such medically important substances as insulin, interferon, and human growth hormone. This technology can also be used to heal genetic diseases.

But scientists can also use this technology to create wildly fanciful creatures. A decade ago, for example, scientists created a goat-sheep cross called a "geep." It's only a matter of time before scientists will mix human genes with various creatures. When I was in graduate school at Yale University one of my professors proposed mixing human DNA with ape DNA. At the time, his proposal met with mixed reactions, but now it's certainly possible if scientists are willing to extend their genetic expertise.

Genetic research to treat and cure genetic diseases is a wise and ethical use of this technology. Creating new creatures with gene splicing is not. Today scientists want to create chimeras that would rival those of Greek mythology. In essence, they want to rewrite the fifth and sixth days of creation. That's the role for the Creator not the scientist.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International