The UK Academy of Medical Sciences is single-handedly protecting us from a future of subservience to hyper-intelligent animal-human hybrids that will inevitably band together and usurp humanity from its seat of hegemony. Or something.
The Academy was commissioned by the government to come up with guidelines for hybrid animals that contain human brain cells. The study was inspired by recent advances in stem cell research that produced genetic curiosities like a mouse with organs made entirely from rat cells.
They determined, basically, that we should just stay the hell away. The report suggests a ban on creating "a non-human primate with enough human brain cells to make it capable of 'human-like' behaviour". They say that such a creature would cause moral morass, since, well, what the hell else would it be considered? They also want a ban on creating human cognition in animals without using human brain cells, for any jerks who took the first ban completely literally.
In addition to Planet of the Apes, which everyone at the academy has clearly been paying way too much attention to, animal-human mashups have a pretty shitty rep in pop culture: from Dr Moreau's island of misfits to Gorilla Grodd, Curt Connors, and the cast of Jersey Shore, none have been especially great for society. Fine, whatever, they might have a point. [Nature]