Scientists have now announced the creation of the most advanced human-mouse hybrid yet created by mixing human and mouse stem cells in a live embryo.
Though the project’s stated aim is to potentially grow human organs for transplant in animals for later transplant into humans who need them, it also raises troubling ethical questions over the possible creation of horrifying human-animals chimeras.
As The Daily Mail reports:
Scientists have successfully mixed human and mice cells in a hybrid ‘chimera’ embryo, the most advanced example of its kind.
The project was organized by researchers at State University of New York at Buffalo, and could point to a major advance in hybrid embryo creation that could be used in the future to harvest organs for human transplants.
The team successfully combined human stem cells with embryonic mice cells by temporarily deactivating a protein called mTOR in the human cells.
This protein regulates cell growth, and after several hours without the protein active, the human stem cells reverted to a ‘naïve’ state, their earliest form where they can grow into the widest range of possible organs or tissues.