Researchers reprogrammed human cells before injecting them in the monkey embryo
Efforts to create human-animal chimeras have rebooted an ethical debate after reports emerged that scientists have produced monkey embryos containing human cells.
A chimera is an organism whose cells come from two or more “individuals”, with recent work looking at combinations from different species. The word comes from a beast from Greek mythology which was said to be part lion, part goat and part snake.
The latest report, published in the Spanish newspaper El País, claims a team of researchers led by Prof Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte from the Salk Institute in the US have produced monkey-human chimeras. The research was conducted in China “to avoid legal issues”, according to the report.
Chimeras are seen as a potential way to address the lack of organs for transplantation, as well as problems of organ rejection. Scientists believe organs genetically matched to a particular human recipient could one day be grown inside animals.