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Scientists' Experiment On Human-Monkey Embryos for 'Human Health' Instigate Ethical Argument

by Maureen Blas / Apr 19, 2021 04:49 AM EDT
Human-Monkey Embryos Experiment for 'Human Health' Instigate Ethical Argument

China and the US may have some misunderstandings for other things, but in terms of this particular human-monkey embryos experiment, they seem to be on the same page. 

The US-Chinese team research collaborates on an experiment where they administered dozens of human cells into growing macaque embryos. These cells are capable of developing into many different body tissues. The ensuing hybrids grown in lab dishes last for up to 20 days.

By focusing on the interrelation of human and animal cells in the embryos, researchers can also understand how to help human cells survive in between animal cells. It can likely develop the effort to grow human organs in alive animal specimens.

Salk Institute Prof Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte said, "These chimeric approaches could be really very useful for advancing biomedical research not just at the very earliest stage of life, but also the latest stage of life. Ultimately, we conduct these studies to understand and improve human health." 

He led the human-monkey embryos experiment and helped create the first human-pig hybrid in 2017. Their research could set the stage in addressing the extreme scarcity of organs that can be transplanted. It also aims to help discern more about early human development, aging, and disease development. Additionally, he asserted that the study, which was published in the journal "Cell" on April 15, had fulfilled existing and legal protocols.

Some researchers, however, are worried about the human-monkey embryos experiment. They asserted that while the embryos, in this case, were decimated at 20 days, others will attempt to take the experiment further. 

Studies like the human-monkey embryos would offer an insight into human biology. Differently, it would need experimenting on humans, making the human-monkey embryos experiment currently impossible. It is expected that the development of this research that consists of cells from two or more different species build their own ethical concerns. This is most especially in connection with how long such embryos must be allowed to develop. 

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