May 19, 2023

International team creates first chimeric human-monkey embryos

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, ethics

Year 2022

Experiments such as this one cannot be funded with federal research dollars, though they break no U.S. laws. The work was conducted in China, not because it was illegal in the United States, the researchers said, but because the monkey embryos, which are difficult to procure and expensive, were available there. The experiment used a total of 150 embryos, which were obtained without harming the monkeys, “just like in the IVF procedure,” Tan said.

But such experiments, which combine human cells with those of animals, are nevertheless controversial. This work, and other work by Izpisua Belmonte, has moved so rapidly, bioethicists have had trouble keeping up.

“The complicated thing is that we need better models of human disease, but the better those models are, the closer they bring us to the ethical issues we were trying to avoid by not doing experiments in humans,” Farahany said. “Remarkable steps forward require urgent public engagement.”

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