Chimera: A Cure?

Such an animal hybrid as the Chimera used to exist only in mythology. The earliest surviving literary reference of this monstrous creature comes from Homer’s Iliad, wherein he describes: "a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire." Once confined to the pages of poets, the chimera now lives in the labs of scientists. In an effort to find cures for monstrous diseases, reproductive and cell biologists alike have turned to gene-editing farm animals, such as pigs, as a way of growing human organs needed for transplants. As a result, we hear the mutterings of new myths—these chimeric pigs could give birth to part-human, part-pig creatures. From this, one of many very important questions emerges: is this practice damaging or expanding our sense of what it means to be human?