Scientists in China have achieved a significant breakthrough in the field of medical research and species conservation. They have successfully created a monkey chimera with two sets of DNA, a feat that has never been accomplished before. The monkey, specifically a cynomolgus monkey, was produced by combining stem cells from the same species with a genetically distinct embryo.
This landmark achievement marks the first live birth of a primate chimera created with stem cells, according to the researchers involved in the project. The monkey chimera was found to be “substantially chimeric,” with a high ratio of cells grown from the stem cells throughout its body. This breakthrough could have profound implications for modeling neurodegenerative diseases and potentially aiding in the conservation of endangered species.
Chimeras, which are hybrid creatures, have long been utilized in biomedical research. However, mice, the typical subjects of such experiments, do not accurately replicate human diseases. To address this limitation, scientists have sought to create human-animal chimeras, with the hope that they could one day provide organs for transplants.
The team of scientists in China cultured stem cell lines and injected them into embryos from the same cynomolgus monkey species. Following this process, the embryos were implanted into female monkeys, resulting in the successful births of six live offspring. This accomplishment demonstrates the potential and feasibility of creating viable chimera organisms using stem cells.
Nevertheless, some experts argue that this study does not constitute a true breakthrough. They point out that the generated chimeras were not entirely viable, and the researchers failed to demonstrate whether the stem cells could be inherited by future generations. Despite these concerns, the development of this technique offers promising prospects for further scientific advancements.
The use of monkeys in scientific research remains a controversial topic, as it raises ethical concerns about animal welfare. However, the team claims to have adhered to Chinese laws and international guidelines that govern the use of nonhuman primates in scientific research.
In the United States, research involving monkeys accounted for only 0.5% of all animals used in scientific research. Nevertheless, monkeys have played a vital role in medical advances, including the development of Covid-19 vaccines. With ongoing developments in the field of chimeras, it is essential to carefully consider the ethical implications and balance them with the potential for medical breakthroughs and species conservation.
“Travel aficionado. Incurable bacon specialist. Tv evangelist. Wannabe internet enthusiast. Typical creator.”