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God Damns It

He is using his evil and gigantic brain to cross-pollinate the embryonic cells of quails and ducks.
December 1, 2003, 12:00am

Todd Forrest says: "Waterfowl eat plants." Big photo by Alain Levitt / Quck and Duail photos reprinted with permission from RA Schneider & JA Helms, SCIENCE 299:565-568 (2003)

While most scientists are thrilling the shit out of us with string theories about the size of the universe and rocks that are about 80 million years old, there are still a select few that are using science for terrible, terrible things. The best example of this is a scary man named Dr. Richard A. Schneider. He is using his evil and gigantic brain to cross-pollinate the embryonic cells of quails and ducks. The resulting monsters are called qucks and duails. "I transplant the embryonic stem cells from a quail—just the ones that are destined to give rise to the beak—to an embryonic duck, and vice versa," says Schneider from his base at UCSF, where he's doing post-doc work. "The procedure takes place in the first 30 to 50 days of development. Eventually the ducks form beaks that look like quails'—those are the qucks—and the quails form beaks that look like ducks'—those are the duails." Schneider, a PhD in zoology from Duke University, started doing transplant work in 1995. "I call them chimeric embryos, like the Greek Chimera," says Schneider. (For any non-smart people out there, the Chimera was a fire-breathing female beast with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail—sound evil? IT IS!) Of course, God-fearing Christians like ourselves are up in arms. We don't like the idea of Richard playing God, and he has received many a threatening message explaining just that. And I know what you're thinking right now. You're thinking, "How the fuck do born-again Christians know the intimate details of what scientists are doing with stem cells?" The answer is simple: God tells us. You think we sit around reading medical journals? Only God could do that. Not only does our knowledge of Schneider's work prove that God exists, it also proves that what Richard is doing is wrong (God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good, therefore if he says something is wrong, it is). So why go on? Why continue to make qucks and duails when it's obviously evil? "For the general public, everything has to come back to humans," Schneider says with a tinge of impatience. "But if we understand the cellular and molecular processes that are involved in the normal patterning of the face, we can understand when things go wrong. There are lots of birth defects that involve the same populations of cells that I transplant." Sorry, pal, God wants to have people born with cleft palates and other weird shit. Schneider's research could possibly prevent another elephant man, but God doesn't want that. God wants deformed people to be deformed because he hates them. Therefore, deformed people are evil and so is Richard Schneider. Maybe he can work on their deformities when he meets them in hell!