unilad
Advert
Advert
Advert
Advert

World’s First Monkey-Pig Hybrids Die Less Than A Week After Birth

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 07 Dec 2019 12:27
World's First Monkey-Pig Hybrids Die Less Than A Week After BirthWorld's First Monkey-Pig Hybrids Die Less Than A Week After BirthState Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology/SALK Institute

Two chimera piglets containing monkey DNA have died within a week of being born in China.

Advert

The animals, which had genetic material from cynomolgus monkeys in their heart, liver, spleen, lung and skin, appeared to be normal when they were first born.

They were created by scientists who claim they are trying to find a way of growing human organs in animals for transplantation.

World's First Monkey-Pig Hybrids Die Less Than A Week After BirthWorld's First Monkey-Pig Hybrids Die Less Than A Week After BirthState Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology in Beijing

Tang Hai at the State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology in Beijing told New Scientist:

Advert

This is the first report of full-term monkey-pig chimeras.

Five-day old piglet embryos were injected with monkey stem cells that had been adjusted to produce a fluorescent protein, which would allow researchers to find out where the cells ended up in their bodies.

According to reports, it’s unknown why the two chimera piglets died, but since the eight other piglets without the monkey cells also died, the scientists believe it’s a problem with the IVF process rather than the chimerism.

However, there has been some pushbacks against the research practice, with some members of the scientific community ruling against creating chimeras over ethical concerns.

Neuroscientist Douglas Munoz at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, told the publication that research projects like this ‘just really ethically scares me’.

World's First Monkey-Pig Hybrids Die Less Than A Week After BirthWorld's First Monkey-Pig Hybrids Die Less Than A Week After BirthSALK Insititute

He said:

For us to start to manipulate life functions in this kind of way without fully knowing how to turn it off or stop it if something goes awry really scares me.

Advert

But Munoz’s concerns could continue to grow as China shows no signs of slowing down after proposing in July to create monkeys with partially human-derived brains in a bid to better study diseases such as alzheimer’s.

Yale University stem cell expert Alejandro De Los Angeles has written that the search for a better animal model to stimulate human disease has been a ‘holy grail’ of biomedical research for decades.

He said:

Realising the promise of human-monkey chimera research in an ethically and scientifically appropriate manner will require a coordinated approach.

Back in 2017 a human-pig hybrid embryo was created at the Salk Institute in San Diego, but died 28 days later. It is hoped this research could one day lead to an alternative to organ donation.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: Animals, Chimera Pigs, Monkeys, pigs

Credits

New Scientist
  1. New Scientist

    Exclusive: First ever piglets containing monkey cells born in China Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2226490-exclusive-first-ever-piglets-containing-monkey-cells-born-in-china/#ixzz67QJVb51d