I was actually just reading the article written about mice with human brains before I saw Walter’s post on the same article. As carefully justified in the article, and also mentioned by Walter, this kind of research is purely used for medical purposes, and not anything like attempting to create new species. Being able to “try out both stem cell interventions and other potential cures on living human brain cells without having to use humans in the process” is the big advantage, and it’s a big step towards curing many diseases.
What I read from this article is that any kind of research or experiment is okay as long as it stays in the lab. They did manage to ban mating among the artificial species to try to regulate this branch of research. It seemed that they were saying that if we don’t allow reproduction and don’t release them into the wild, creating a mouse with a human brain is perfectly fine. Right now they are only studying brain development through medium that’s not human. But what will happen once they want to study environmental effects on the brain? Would they have to make a creature with a brain so similar to a human’s that it would react the same way a human would when stimulated by its surroundings? If we created an new species that has almost the exact characteristics as humans, is it still going to be morally right to do so if we promise to keep it in the lab?
All these questions lead to the debate of where to draw the line and how much meddling with nature is too much. We allow the sacrifice of many dispensable lives of mice in order to cure humans of illnesses. In the future, when we advance even further in science and medicine, are we just going to re-convince ourselves that whatever research we do then is completely justified by the benefit is brings?