As if we needed another thing to worry about, China has decided that it has had enough of humans, that they have created a part human, part monkey chimera embryos. Yes, you read that right, a human-monkey hybrid. Yikes! According to Spain’s El Pais, the team of scientists hope the technique will bring animals used to grow human organs for transplantation one step closer. So basically, if a human was in danger of losing one of its’ organs, that monkey can donate it to them, and basically, have the same functions as it would if they got an organ transplant from another human.
The international team of Chinese science genetically modified the embryos of monkeys by turning off the genes which create organs, they then inserted human stem cells. These stem cells are special because they can become another type of cell in the body, such as muscle cells or nerve. The approach involves embryo species that are a few days old, and human embryonic stem cells that are brought together in a way which would enable them to grow harmoniously.
If this creepy yet smart experiment works, scientists could create chimera that can contain organs made of human cells. A chimera is an organism that contains two different sets of DNA. However, according to El Pais, “the would-be chimera is not alive as researchers stopped the process.” The work was led by Spanish scientist Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte of the Salk Institute, California and researchers at Murcia Catholic University, and was carried out in Chine to “side-step the potential legal issues.”
According to project collaborator Estrella Nunez, Biologist of Spain’s Monica Catholic University, results are looking “very promising,” and researchers plan to experiment with human cells and rodent and pig cells, as well as with non-human primates.
This is the second time and experiment of this sort comes to life. Back in 2017, Izpisúa’s lab unsuccessfully carried out the world’s first experiment on humans and pig chimeras. The human cells contributed little to the embryo’s growth at one human cell for every 100,000 pig.
So, can it be that using monkeys to grow human organs is the best approach? Maybe? If so, this just goes to show you how far medicine has advanced in a matter of years. It sure is terrifying if you think about it. Does this mean that chimps will basically be like humans now? Yikes. It makes you wonder what other human-animal trials scientists have experimented with and what their ultimate goal is.