Chinese Lab Aims To Grow Human Organs Inside Animals, Delivers First-Ever “Pig-Monkey Chimeras”

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By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

A Chinese lab has successfully produced the first-ever pig-monkey hybrid. New Scientists reports how these piglets were born carrying cells from monkeys.

A researcher from the State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology, Tang Hai mentions how this is the first birth of the full-term pig-monkey chimeras. Hai is also one of the authors of a research paper about this hybrid birth.

The ultimate goal behind this experiment is growing human organs inside animals. But that won’t be happening any time soon. While the birth was a success, these pig-monkey hybrids did not survive for long. Within 7 days of their birth, they passed away. The exact reason for their death is still not known.

Also read: Scientists Say They Created A Human-Monkey Hybrid In A Lab

So how was this feat achieved? Hai and the rest of the team grew a monkey-cell culture. They derived embryonic stem cells from the culture and then they were injected into fertilized pig embryos. The embryos were 4 days old when this process was done.

After implanting over 4000 embryos, the scientists managed to get 10 piglets. But even among those ten, only 2 turned out to be the pig-monkey hybrid chimeras. The flaws were apparent since even those 2 hybrids did not survive for long.

Also read: A CRISPR Company Is Testing Pig Organs In Monkeys To See If They’re Safe For Us

According to Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell biologist from the University of California, this whole experiment as rather discouraging. The low efficiency of the chimeras and then all of them dying in such a short period makes Knoepfler think about all the more research and experimentation they still have to do.

The cells from the monkeys in the pig-monkey hybrids were spread throughout their vital organs. But the overall count was very low. The cells only numbered between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000.

IMAGE CREDIT: Branislav Nenin

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