In order to create short-lived hybrid organisms that could be an important step in the growth of human organs for cattle transplants or in creating better animal models for studying human disease, a group of scientists have successfully introduced human stem cells in monkey embryos. in the lab.
Human / monkey chimeras, organisms containing cells of two or more species, survived for up to 20 days in petri dishes. It’s not the planet of the apes, but it’s coming.
Better than pork chimeras
Specifically, 132 monkey embryos were harvested and each received an injection of 25 human stem cells. After 10 days, 103 of the chimeric embryos were still developing. Survival quickly began to decline, and by the 19th, only three chimeras were still alive.
Attempts to create human / pig chimeras have only been partially successful because 90 million years of evolutionary history separate the two species. However, human / ape chimeras could provide clues that would allow scientists to make the leap to pigs or cattle.
Human / animal chimeras could also help fill gaps in our understanding of early human development after conception and improve the study of how viruses, bacteria, and drugs interact with humans.
There was no possibility that these embryos had become living things. They were not implanted in the uterus for the pregnancy. And even if they were, the differences in the reproductive chronology of humans and apes would likely have doomed their chances of survival.