Spanish scientist Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte who created the first human/pig hybrid in 2017 lays claim to having grown the first viable human/monkey hybrid embryo in a Chinese laboratory to avoid legal issues. The embryo could have been born had they not aborted the process.
According to Belmonte they modified the genetics of the embryo to deactivate organ forming genes in the monkey embryo. Human stem cells were then injected into the embryo which are able to create any type of tissue.
If the claims are true, it could lead to using animals to grow human organs for transplants and has raised the issue of ethics from previous attempts on pigs and sheep.
Although details of their experiment has not yet been released, a report of their claims was published by Spanish newspaper El País.
Elaborating on the human/pig experiment, University of California Veterinarian Pablo Ross said: “The human cells did not take hold. We saw that they contributed very little [to the development of the embryo]: one human cell for every 100,000 pig cells.”
Belmonte said their experiment on human/pig chimeras in 2017 were not as successful as the recent one but they did learn a lot and created mice/rat chimeras with better results.
“We are now trying not only to move forward and continue experimenting with human cells and rodent and pig cells, but also with non-human primates.’’ Belmonte concluded.
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