Summer movie theaters are dominated by hoards of superhero movies each and every year. These superhumans are able to leap over buildings, dodge bullets, and even shoot web from their hands.
And now, the human race is one step closer to creating its very own army of superheroes, just like Captain America!
China recently announced it has genetically engineered a batch of "hyper-muscular super dogs." These test tube created, muscle-bound dogs are said to possess twice the muscle mass of naturally-bred dogs and are significantly faster and stronger too.
The accomplishment has fascinated genetic engineers as the canine genome (which closely mimics the human genome) is remarkably difficult to engineer and replicate.
Is China biohacking DNA and building an army of super beings?
However, some fear that eventually the technology will be used to create a batch of super soldiers, thereby creating a real life Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America. Chief among the concerned parties is David King, director of Human Genetics Alert (HGA), who remarked:
"It's true that the more and more animals that are genetically engineered using these techniques brings us closer to the possibility of genetic engineering of humans. Dogs as a species, in respect of cloning are very difficult, and even more difficult to clone human beings.
There's no medical case for it, the scientists are interested in being the first person in the world to create a genetically engineer child. They're interested in science and the technology and their careers. They will continue pushing the regulations for it
That does set us on the road to eugenics. I am very concerned with what I'm seeing."
The first of this "super breed" of dogs was a beagle named Little Long Long, who was part of a "litter" of 27 pups. The batch was created by removing the myostatin gene (also present in humans) which effectively doubled the muscle mass of a standard beagle. Of the 65 embryos researchers "modified", 27 were born and only Little Long Long was created without the myostatin gene.
Chinese officials have stated that their purpose with the super dogs is to be used as an aid for police officers. Faster and stronger dogs are better at running and hunting out criminals, but it's not too far fetched to think that the first genetically engineered human isn't far off.
Researchers on the Chinese team also envision the ability to genetically create dogs can assist with human medical research, particularly in regards to finding a cure for Parkinson's.
"The goal of the research is to explore an approach to the generation of the new disease dog models for biomedical research. Dogs are very close to humans in terms of metabolic, physiological and anatomical characteristics."
Mr. King and others don't share the same sentiments as their Chinese counterparts, and feel that this is the first step towards "designer children" and "novelty pets". That's that crazy talk either, as there are cases in the United States where highly intelligent and attractive women are paid handsomely for their eggs. King said this is just one of the many examples of eugenics already going on.
"This is the way it's likely to proceed if the law is changed, first of all they will use it for medical purposes, most likely to treat a genetic condition...I'm seeing the beginning of a campaign within the scientific community to legalise human genetic engineering. We've seen how it happened with the three-parent embryo...I can see the same thing building up with genetic engineering."
Are real life super humans and heroes right around the corner? Will we see the first army of super soldiers within our lifetime? What are your thoughts on human cloning?
Leave your thoughts down below!