The United States Patent Office has denied a patent for the creation of a human/chimpanzee hydbrid animal. This is depicted as something of a defeat for Stuart Newman, the “inventor” of this still unmade chimera. But it is really a victory. Newman is engaged in a very creative effort at public policy advocacy to prevent the creation of hybrid humans. He will most likely now sue the patent office for denying the patent. As I understand his approach, in the end he hopes to obtain a ruling that no patents over human life can ever be issued. That would doom “therapeutic cloning.” Moreover, Newman’s advocacy should stimulate an important conversation to determined how much human DNA can be put into animals (transgenic animals) to obtain useful information or substances for making medicines (called “pharming), before it becomes too much humans in animals.
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