Yeah, this will end well. Researchers have created the first-ever human/monkey embryo. Which is really cool if you watch sci-fi movies and think, “Science should destroy mankind.”
A new paper published at Cell (which we first came across at NPR) shares the results of a scientific breakthrough. An international team of researchers has created embryos that are part human and part monkey. These “interspecies chimera” formations are made with “human pluripotent stem cells.” Of course that doesn’t answer the most obvious questions we have. Like, “Why?” Followed by, “No, seriously, WHY?” And of course, “Is this a plot to destroy mankind with an army of monkey-human hybrids?”
In a new study, researchers generate human-monkey chimeric embryos that are able to develop for up to 20 days. Read more in @CellCellPress https://t.co/2sziQFn2mj#chimera #devbio#KunmingUniversity @salkinstitute pic.twitter.com/klR936o9A2— Cell Press (@CellPressNews) April 15, 2021
We won’t rule out the last one just yet. (Though fortunately it does not appear that any of the scientists are named Dr. Moreau.) But the team says this otherwise terrifying work is for a very good cause. It “might constitute a promising strategy for various regenerative medicine applications, including the generation of organs and tissues for transplantation.”
These chimera embryos resulted from experiments with other species. Sheep and pig embryos and tissue injected with human stem cells failed to generate organs. When that didn’t work, the team injected the human stem cells (iPS cells) into macaque monkey embryos instead. That did the trick, because monkeys are much closer to people, genetically.
Maybe a little too close, no?
New Line Cinema
The researchers say these embryos, which allow them to study biological communication between human and animal cells, could one day help them work with other animal embryos. They write, “These results may help to better understand early human development and primate evolution and develop strategies to improve human chimerism in evolutionarily distant species.”
Yeah, that sounds great! The more human-animal embryos, the better! Minus the part where this whole thing is absolutely terrifying. Because while their intentions might be good and pure, this type of breakthrough could hypothetically be used for nefarious reasons one day. And the only type of monkey/human hybrid we ever want to see is one standing behind us on an evolutionary chart.