In 2019, a team led by Spanish scientist Juan Carlos Izpisua successfully bred the world’s first “human monkey hybrid embryo” by injecting human stem cells into monkey embryos using advanced technology.
The scheme sparked heated debate at the time and was suspended when the embryo was 14 days old.
Now, the “human monkey hybrid embryo” ushered in the latest breakthrough. In a new report published April 15 in the journal Cell, the researchers note that based on previous studies, human stem cells were injected into the embryos of primates and crab-eating monkeys, and the embedded embryos survived for nearly 20 days.
Human monkey-embedded embryos could one day become a model for human disease, embryo development, and aging, researchers say. By amplifying the interactions between human and animal cells in embryos, scientists can also learn how to help human cells survive in animal cells, potentially facilitating efforts to grow human organs in living animal models.
In other words, they will pave the way for human organ transplantation. At a time when the global shortage of organ donors is still sudden, scientists are struggling to overcome the problem, such as the successful development of “human-pig embryos” in 2017, heterogeneous organ transplants, and so on.
But the plan has also raised concerns among some scientists. Alejandro De Los Angeles, a stem cell biologist at Yale University School of Medicine, said that while the field of research may lead to exciting advances in medicine, ethical issues still need to be addressed.
“One of the main concerns about human and animal chimeric is whether they will be ‘humanized’, for example, whether they will acquire human-like cognitive abilities,” says De Los Angeles. ”
As early as 2019, when the world’s first “human monkey hybrid embryo” was born, scientists raised similar questions, and if they do eventually give birth to human monkeys, they are likely to produce self-awareness, which could eventually lead to self-destruction.