Scientists Create Part-Human, Part-Monkey Embryos For The First Time

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Scientists Create Part-Human, Part-Monkey Embryos For The First Time

NPR has reported that, for the first time ever, a team of scientists has created hybrid embryos made up of cells that come from both humans and monkeys.


A paper published in the journal Cell, is detailing the ways in which scientists are able to grow organs intended for human transplants.


In the United States, it has become increasingly difficult to find organs available for transplantation. Growing research on stem cells is aiming to find an alternative way of growing transplants through the combination of cells that come from more than one species, such as humans and pigs or sheep. In a recent experiment, scientists injected 25 human pluripotent stem cells from humans into 132 sis-day-old macaque embryos, as their genetic makeup is more closely related to our own compared to other species.


Within 24 hours after the injection, the human cells started growing in all 132 of the embryos, and within days, 103 of the embryos survived. However, after 19 days, only three of the embryos were still alive, which were then terminated.


Genetics Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, at the Salk Institute of Biological Science in La Jolla, California, and co-author of the study, told NPR:


"This knowledge will allow us to go back now and try to re-engineer these pathways that are successful for allowing appropriate development of human cells in these other animals. We are very, very excited."


He added that:


"Our goal is not to generate any new organism, any monster. And we are not doing anything like that. We are trying to understand how cells from different organisms communicate with one another."


The researchers believe that the growth of human cells at such a high rate can lead to a breakthrough.


In an official statement, Belmonte said:


"Historically, the generation of human-animal chimeras has suffered from low efficiency and integration of human cells into the host species."


Ultimately, the researchers hope to see whether they can find new ways to screen for drugs while generating transplantable cells, tissues and organs.


Part of the team's scientists have previously attempted to create hybrid embryos in 2017, by introducing human cells to pig embryos and incubating them for four weeks. The results showed the first human cells being detected in embryos of other species.


But while the number of grown cells in the 2017 trial fell short of expectations, the new study's results have shown higher rates of human cell growth.


In 2019, scientists in China also attempted to create hybrid embryos by injecting macaque cells into pig embryos. The pigs were born in the lab but died in the first week following birth.


Despite the latest successes, the research raises a number of ethical questions.


The research has raised a number of ethical questions.


Research Fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute Kirstin Matthews told NPR:


"My first question is: Why? I think the public is going to be concerned, and I am as well, that we're just kind of pushing forward with science without having a proper conversation about what we should or should not do."


[h/t: Futurism]


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Thinking Humanity: Scientists Create Part-Human, Part-Monkey Embryos For The First Time
Scientists Create Part-Human, Part-Monkey Embryos For The First Time
NPR has reported that, for the first time ever, a team of scientists has created hybrid embryos made up of cells that come from both humans and monkey
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