[Paleopsych] More on Chimera from Today's Wall Street Journal
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Sun May 8 14:56:17 UTC 2005
---- Original Message -----
From: L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D.
To: Gerontology Research Group
Cc: irv at stanford.edu ; sciencejournal at wsj.com
Sent: Friday, May 06, 2005 6:36 PM
Subject: [GRG] More on Chimera from Today's Wall Street
"Now That Chimeras Exist, What if Some Turn Out Too Human?"
by Sharon Begley, Science Writer
May 6, 2005; New York, NY (WSJ; p. B1) -- If you had just created a mouse with
human brain cells, one thing you wouldn't want to hear the little guy say is,
"Hi there, I'm Mickey." Even worse, of course, would be something like, "Get me
out of this &%#ing body!"
I believe the approved thing to start out with, is a mantra:
"Not to go on all-Fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men?"
After that come sad considerations on the relative shortness
of animal life span. Less Stuart Little than Brian the Dog.
Seriously, though, does anybody really believe that a mouse
with human brain cells has any chance of achieving even
Algernon-hood, let alone human-grade thought? It's less a
matter of what species of brain cells you have, than it is
of how many and how connected and how specialized. A mouse
skull is only so big. I suspect you won't get anywhere
making a smarter mouse unless you give it *bird* neurons,
not human ones. Bird brains have amazing processing power
for the size and weight. So forget human brain cells, and
forget the scariness of human chimeras, unless they are
animals of approximately human size. For ordinary lab
animals you don't get scary intelligence till you scale a
*bird brain* up to medium mammal size, and that gives you
something with as many neurons as a human brain, yet not
human. I have in mind a cartoon I saw once of a cooperative
lab rabbit, which informs the two white-coated scientists:
"Hi, I'm Linda. I'll be your bunny for the experiment
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