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A chimera (named for the creature of Greek mythology that had the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a serpent) is a living organism that has been artificially created, usually by fusing zygotes (fertilized eggs) with different systems of DNA, that is, genetically dissimilar cells taken from different creatures. For example, a chimera may be formed by inserting human stem cells into an animal fetus. The creation of chimeras can serve several purposes:

  • Drug trials
  • Building models for illnesses
  • In the future – growing organs for transplant (e.g., from sheep-human or pig-human chimera embryos).


Selected ethical issues:
  •  Crossing the (biological/ethical) line between humans and animals.
  • “Playing God” by creating humans.
  • The identity and moral status of chimeric animals (human/animal identity)
  • What genetic mix (percentage of human genes) determines belonging or not belonging to the human race?