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One is to decide if there is a fundamental difference between adding DNA from one species into another — the technology used to produce genetically modified foods — and putting human cells into an animal. Many people can accept genetically modified organisms, but would a human-animal chimera eventually become acceptable? After all, Dr. Kahn said, in both cases, you could say “it’s just DNA.”

Where to draw the human boundary is another issue. If it is O.K. to put human cells into an animal, why does it seem clearly wrong to put animal cells into a human? As more and more human cells are added to an animal, at what point is the result different from adding more and more animal cells to a human embryo?

“What are we doing when we are mixing the traits of two species?” Dr. Kahn asked. “What makes us human? Is it having 51 percent human cells?”

Those questions, he added, “are part of what make people react to this issue.”

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