sheep-in-grassy-knoll
On a farm about six miles outside this gambling town, Jason Chamberlain looks over a flock of about 50 smelly sheep, many of them possessing partially human livers, hearts, brains and other organs. The University of Nevada-Reno researcher talks matter-of-factly about his plans to euthanize one of the pregnant sheep in a nearby lab. He can’t wait to examine the effects of the human cells he had injected into the fetus’ brain about two months ago. “It’s mice on a large scale,” Chamberlain says with a shrug. As strange as his work may sound, it falls firmly within the new ethics guidelines the influential National Academies issued this past week for stem cell research. In fact, the Academies’ report endorses research that co-mingles human and animal tissue as vital to ensuring that experimental drugs and new tissue replacement therapies are safe for people. Doctors have transplanted pig valves into human hearts for years, and scientists have injected human cells into lab animals for even longer. More