Health desk -17th April 2021: Monkey embryos containing human cells have been made in a laboratory, a study has confirmed. The research, by a US-Chinese team, has sparked fresh debate into the ethics of such experiments.
The scientists injected human stem cells into macaque embryos. The developing embryos were studied for up to 20 days.
The scientists were led by Prof Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte of the Salk Institute in the US, who, in 2017, according to him it helps understand more about early human development, disease progression and ageing .”Ultimately, we conduct these studies to understand and improve human health,” he said.
‘Ethical challenges- some scientists are calling for public debate over the implications of creating part human/part nonhuman chimeras. Dr Anna Smajdor, lecturer and researcher in biomedical ethics at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School , said The scientists behind this research state that these chimeric embryos offer new opportunities, because ‘we are unable to conduct certain types of experiments in humans’.
Prof Julian Savulescu, director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and co-director of the Welcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, University of Oxford, said the research “opens Pandora’s box to human-nonhuman chimeras”.
Sarah Norcross, director of the Progress Educational Trust, said that while “substantial advances” are being made in embryo and stem cell research, which could bring equally substantial benefits, “there is a clear need for public discussion and debate about the ethical and regulatory challenges raised”.