Science & Technology
Hybrid embryos are part human, part monkey
April 16, 2021 | 32 comments
Where exactly do we draw the line ? Image Credit: Pixabay / Gellinger
The controversial research, while impressive, has unsurprisingly raised some major ethical concerns.
While the achievement could lead to a number of significant medical advancements, not everyone is thrilled about the idea of cross-species 'chimeras' that are part human, part monkey.
The research, which involved injecting human stem cells into early-stage macaque monkey embryos, was carried out by researchers at the Salk Institute in California.
The resulting embryos lived for approximately 19 days before having to be destroyed.
Some scientists, such as Professor Julian Savulescu of the University of Oxford, believe that experiments like this have the potential to open up an ethical can of worms.
"The most difficult issue lies in the future," he said.
"This research opens Pandora's box to human-nonhuman chimeras. These embryos were destroyed at 20 days of development but it is only a matter of time before human-nonhuman chimeras are successfully developed, perhaps as a source of organs for humans."
"That is one of the long term goals of this research. The key ethical question is: what is the moral status of these novel creatures ?"
"Before any experiments are performed on live born chimeras, or their organs extracted, it is essential that their mental capacities and lives are properly assessed."
"What looks like a nonhuman animal may mentally be close to a human."
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