Scientists in Israel have announced that they have grown what looks to be the very icky beginnings of a mouse in a jar that looks like it should contain a pottery barn candle. Eventually, they say they’ll be able to grow all manner of motherless creatures for experimentation, just like in the cheerful Kazuo Ishiguro novel Never Let Me Go.
In order to create what looks to me—a person who is also a doctor—like throbbing Christmas ornaments ensconcing wriggling, vaguely dick-shaped monsters, doctors of science spun a bunch of gunk around in a centrifuge and then poured the goo into jars until it globbed up and became little nightmares. Luckily those nasty pulsating sacks only live a few weeks and never become actual motherless mice.
Soon, some people who seem to have never read any science fiction novels say that goo could be any Frankenstein’s monster we want it to be, which worked out great for Frankenstein and the monster!
“This sets the stage for other species,” says Jacob Hanna, a developmental biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science, who led the research team. “I hope that it will allow scientists to grow human embryos until week five.”
And why would we want to do that? Abortions, of course:
“Growing human embryos in the lab for that long, deep into the first trimester, would put science on a collision course with the abortion debate. Hanna believes lab-grown embryos could be a research substitute for tissue derived from abortions, and possibly a source of tissue for medical treatments as well.”
Yes, creating human embryos from nothing, as long as scientists pinky promise to toss them after a few weeks seems like a perfectly ethical alternative to using tissue collected from abortions or discarded IVF embryos. It also does not at all sound like the start of a tale in which there are real humans and synthetic ones, essentially creating a race of ringers to be medically tortured for their creators’ convenience.
I, for one, wholeheartedly wish all I had to do for Mother’s Day was try not to shatter any Mason jars out of respect for my family and shake my fists at the sky, cursing my creator and wishing I had never been born. I already do some of that anyway, but the additional flower bouquets that aren’t all baby’s breath and hokey cellophane are really fucking expensive.