- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Chimera1' during my Thesis research, as from 2017.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Statistics" above.
Write-up2 (as at 10/09/2020 14:52:48): Chimera
- Chimeras are animals – or maybe humanoids4 – made up of parts of animals from different species.
- They were originally mythical beasts (Wikipedia: Chimera), improbable amalgams of lion, goat and snake, though mules (Wikipedia: Mule, the progeny of a male donkey and a female horse) are chimeras as the parents are of different species with different numbers of chromosomes.
- My only reference for this topic was originally "Savulescu (Julian) - Should a human-pig chimera be treated as a person?". This brief paper focuses on the ethics of using (future) pig-human chimeras as sources of (human) transplant-organs or neural matter.
- The paper’s rhetorical question is rather ludicrous as there would never be any intention5 of engineering pigs with the attributes needed to qualify as a person, nor the need to do so even in the case of neural tissue (which would remain in the petri-dish6).
- Whether such a beast – whether hybridised with a human or not – were to qualify as a person7 ought to be based on its cognitive capacities and not merely on its chromosomes.
- It is possible that this topic might relate to transhumanism8. Rather than adding small quantities of human to pig, we might add quantities of animal to human. This would be the case in organ transplants – where an essentially normal organ is transplanted – but it might be the case that augmentative strategies could be adopted whereby humans are enhanced with bodily features (or, say, the physiological infrastructure) of animals, much as in the case of cyborgs9, but with organic rather than inorganic parts.
- I’ve noted the extended usage of the term to designate human beings with body parts or cells originating from different human beings. I’m not sure this is helpful, or that it has much significant to say about identity conditions. Genetic uniformity is not sufficient for numerical identity (because of identical twins) and I doubt it is necessary either. Examples given are women after (or possibly during) pregnancy and human-human transplant recipients.
- The following useful material comes from notes made on the RIP-version of "Kingma (Elselijn) - Were You Part of Your Mother?".
- Microchaemerism (See Wikipedia: Microchimerism): Fetal-maternal & Twin-twin transfer. Pregnant women usually pick up fetal cells during pregnancy, which remain in their bodies for decades.
- Macro-chaemerism: Kidney donation; blastocyst fusion (see Wikipedia: Chimera (Genetics)). This link distinguishes Chimeras from Hybrids and Hybridomas. In a Chimera, each cell is genetically uniform, whereas:-
In the latter case, two blastocysts (of non-identical twins) fuse non-pathologically10 – for all Kingma knows this might be true of her – so that some organs are formed from one blastocyst and the others, or the skin, are formed from the other. It’d be bonkers to think that such cases weren’t each a (single) organism.
- Hybrids: form from the fusion of gametes from two species that form a single zygote with a combined genetic makeup. See Wikipedia: Hybrid (Biology).
- Hybridomas: result from the fusion of two species' cells into a single cell and artificial propagation of this cell in the laboratory. See Wikipedia: Hybridoma Technology.
- For a Page of Links11 to this Note, Click here. A few metaphorical uses of “chimera” have been ignored.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read12 include the following:-
- "Crabb (Jon) - Monster mash", Crabbe13
- "Kingma (Elselijn) - Were You Part of Your Mother?", Kingma
- "Savulescu (Julian) - Should a human-pig chimera be treated as a person?", Savulescu
- There is currently, not much of a categorised reading-list for this topic. A further reading list might start with the items below, and I’ll pursue references from the Stanford paper if necessary:-
- "Rowland (Katherine) - We are multitudes", Rowland
- "Streiffer (Robert) - Human/Non-Human Chimeras", Streiffer
- This is mostly a place-holder14.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (10/09/2020 14:52:48).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
- The mythical centaur is an example.
- Admittedly, "Ishiguro (Kazuo) - Never Let Me Go" considers the cloning of human beings so their organs can be harvested, but this is presumably because it is deemed to be the technologically simplest solution.
- I’m admittedly unclear about this.
- But the idea of developing neural structures within a pig-human chimera and transplanting these structures into a human head is as far-fetched as brain transplants, so can be ignored for now.
- The pathological cases are of conjoined twins – where there’s incomplete fusion and integration.
- Some vaguely interesting historical background.
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- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020