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    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    And then god created Goat-boy

    From the AP "Scientists said on Wednesday they have created a distinctive red and yellow butterfly in the laboratory by interbreeding two different species in a way similar to what they believe has occurred in nature. The laboratory hybrid is nearly identical to a wild species of butterfly in Colombia known as Heliconius heurippa.
    "We re-created the evolutionary steps that may have given rise to Heliconius heurippa, a hybrid butterfly species, in the lab," said Jesus Mavarez, of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City, Panama. Animal hybrids are thought to be very rare because they are less able to survive. The mule, for example--a hybrid between a donkey and a horse--is sterile so it is an evolutionary dead end. But some hybrids survive and establish new species.

    The achievement by Mavarez and researchers in Colombia and Britain, which is reported in the journal Nature, suggests animal hybrids could be more common than previously thought." While cloning legalities are still being worked out in the US, this to me seems like a giant step. While cross-breeding butterflies won't ruffle too many feathers, what happens when dolphin/manatees....or goats/children become hybrids?? It may not be as hard to play god as we thought....





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