Could the big split among anti-science hippies occur over a cute little cat?
PETA loves animals. Greenpeace hates genetic modification and science in general because changes are only 'natural' if high-energy cosmic rays mutate things at random. What about when scientists use unnatural science to help save an endangered species?
An African Black-footed Cat was born February 6, 2012, at the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans. The cool science aspect, or the creepy FrankenKitten aspect if you are a progressive, is that it was born to an ordinary domestic cat - the first of its kind to be born from inter-species embryo transfer.
That means we may never have animals go extinct again, which would mean the World Wildlife Federation would have to start kneecapping scientists; without a crisis to raise money for, a whole bunch of people have to get jobs. The story is actually eight years old, involving a male from the Henry Doorly Zoo Center for Conservation and Research in Omaha, Nebraska circa 2003 and his preserved sperm. IVF was performed using the the eggs from a female black-footed cat living at the Audubon research center two years later. Then the fertilized embryos were frozen until 2011 when they were placed inside a different species.
The world ended with a 65-gram ball of fur. Credit: Audobon Institute.
Did you get all that? Inter-species embryo transfer from frozen/thawed embryo transfer using cryopreserved sperm. Pretty awesome, right? Audobon called it a breakthrough in genetic engineering of endangered cats. Maybe. Or maybe it is the precursor to our doom.
Here's the adorable little abomination of nature in action:
Researchers are not stopping there. “The next step for us will be to clone the black-footed cat to ensure we will always have enough genetic material to bolster the species,” said Dr. Martha Gomez, co-investigator on the current project. (insert maniacal laugh)
It will be interesting to see who on the anti-science front attacks first. Good thing the right wing will be staying out of this one. They never have any concerns about biology. Oh wait...
PETA Versus Greenpeace: The Looming War Over Kittens