Neuromag May 2017 - Page 27

Ivanov, a specialist in the field of arti- ficial insemination and hybridization, attempted to ‘build a living super- warrior’ under the leadership of Stalin. The idea was to generate a pain- and cold-insensitive creature with superior strength to humans. Fortunately, the method of artificial insemination was already developed at that time, so no humans had to have sex with an ape. Instead, Ivanov tried to fertilize female chimpanzees with human sperm. All three attempts at fertilization failed. Only as a next step did Dr. Ivanov’s experiments be- come more ‘exceptional’: he selected human ‘volunteers’, in this case So- viet women, to be inseminated with chimpanzee sperm. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you’re into that sort Oliver the chimpanzee (1958-2012) promot- ed as a ‘Humanzee’ due to his human-like face and tendency to walk upright. Source: of thing) the story ends here. It is still unknown whether this experiment has been conducted but did not result in pregnancy or whether this could not be done because either the male ape died too soon or Ivanov was arrested as information about the experiments started to leak out just before he could conduct them. Approximately 50 years later, at Cor- nell University in New York, Michael J. Bedford discovered that human sperm can adhere to and penetrate the egg of a gibbon, both in vivo and in vitro (4). This was, however, not possible for other lower primates (like baboons, rhesus monkeys), probably due to an altered egg and sperm surface (4). Ru- mor has it Bedford expressed his con- fidence that this penetration would work in greater apes as well, although this was not tested. However, exactly this argument that the sperm surface with their specific adherence to the complementary surface is the strong- est argument of those arguing against the possibility of human-chimpanzee crossbreeding. Around the same time, a creature called ‘Oliver’ has incited uproar in the United States. Oliver was considered a humanzee, the missing link between the two species: his face and behavior were human-like, he walked on two feet and apparently had a un-chimp- like self-awareness. The owners stat- ed that Oliver had 47 chromosomes, which has never been proven by of- ficial reports, but it brought fame and glory to him. Eventually, after 25 years of Oliver being in the spotlight, scien- tists disenchanted Oliver’s story by providing a DNA analysis confirming that Oliver is just a normal chimpan- zee with 48 chromosomes (5). Even though no human-chimpan- zee hybrid has been reported in his- tory so far, I am more than confident that sperm and eggs of humans and chimpanzees can create a zygote (the technical name for a fertilized egg) but wheth W"F267GVǒVBFFP&W"f&FBFWfVVB`V''2vRFW"7F'6Ц"FFRgV7F7W&FЦvVW62VW2&W"FWfVV@6VB'&W7BB6W'FBVFpF&R'&&ǒFVf&VB"W7@&WF&FVBV''FB2BB6֒Ц"F6VR"V&RЦr'WBbFRV''FWfVVB6"Ч&V7FǒvBvVBFR'&B&RƖSvVBB&R'&BvFFRFVЦƖvV6RbVBFR7G&VwFb6VR2FW6&VB'7FЦƖ"&RFRFW"v&VCB&R'FFǒrvV@R676gVVS2BRЦB6FW&Vf&RB&RvVB"2BvBFW2BVF&RVrvVBB6vPFR676f6F"6gBFR&VF'&WGvVVVBFW6PB&R&RVW7F2FBF@vBF7vW"2FW'f"W6VV@גWW'F6R7FVfR66W7FW"w&GVFV@g&F\*6VV"BV7V WW&66V6R7FW.( 2&w&Ц#R6R27W'&VFǒB6FFFRFR6Ɩ6WW&vVWF72"b&bG"VFvW"66;f2BFRW'FP7FGWFRf"6Ɩ6'&&W6V&6L;&vVॳ6VR6WVV6rBǗ6066'FV#RF6WVV6RbFP6VRvVRB6&6vFFRVvVRGW&RC3rsSRcУ`%GFW'6&6FW"BvW'&R2WBࢃ#bvVWF2WfFV6Rf"6W7V6ЦFbV2B6VW2GW&RCC2Ӏ5&FvƆ2rrWBࢃ#2&V6Ɩ'&FrWWW2WfWFW6pFRvVR6WVV6RbV&ǒ֖FFPV7F6VR'6RGW&RCsBӀE&VFf&B7W&VvrFW&7FFP7V6f6GbV7W&FrB&V2CsrӃpUVǒVB'F7vWGBrb&R4FV66FS6&6BDDǗ62bƗfW"2F&R3RC0#rUU$r#p