SPAIN: A team of scientists from China, the US, and Spain reported for the first time on Thursday they have created human-monkey chimera embryos and grown them for up to 20 days under laboratory conditions.
In Chimeric contribution of human extended pluripotent stem cells to monkey embryos ex vivo (Cell), the team acknowledges the “significant ethical concerns,” but also their optimism on the perspective of growing organs for human transplantation and disease research in the future.
The report provides scientific details of several years of work and clarifies that they did not create living animals, nor implanted the embryos in uterus. Nonetheless, this is the most successful experiment to date in keeping human cells alive and healthy in a nonhuman embryo, notably as “human and monkey cells cooperate in building the embryo.” Extraction of monkey cells in all 132 embryos used is reportedly effectuated without harming any animal alive. However, concerns over regularization as there is a significant proportion of human cells and great chances for cross-species induced pregnancies remain.
Chimeras are the combination of cells from multiple species that are meant to be used for experiments and kept under strict protocols so that they do not develop full humanity as to become an even more ethical concern.
- The First Human-Pig Hybrid Embryo Has Been Created in The Lab (Sciencealert, 2016)
- The creator of the pig-human chimera keeps proving other scientists wrong (StatNews, 2017)
- Scientist Claims US Lab Engineered ‘Humanzee’ Human-Chimp Hybrid 100 Years Ago (Sciencealert, 2018)
- International team creates first chimeric human-monkey embryos (STAT, 2021)
- Chimeric contribution of human extended pluripotent stem cells to monkey embryos ex vivo (Cell, 2021)