Chinese scientists have apparently shocked the globe by successfully creating the first human-monkey hybrid in a lab.
This terrifying event took place in China in 2021 after a group of researchers from the United States and Spain journeyed there to circumvent laws prohibiting such study in their own countries.
They said that developing the hybrid was crucial to their ultimate goal of harvesting organs from animals to utilize in human transplants.
Human stem cells were successfully transplanted into monkey embryos, with the study team reporting that some of the embryos survived for as long as 20 days before being killed for ethical reasons.
As a result of this and other ethical concerns, most countries restrict this type of study.
Human cell spread outside of the intended organ is a major concern. For example, if stem cells escaped and differentiated into human neurons in an animal’s brain, the ethical implications would be devastating.
The ethical concerns are compounded by the difficulty of restricting the expansion of human cells to a single organ.
Despite these concerns, the study team has pledged to continue utilizing monkeys in its investigations, insisting that the results thus far have been exceedingly positive.
How this will affect the future of medical research is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain: it has prompted a lively debate about the ethics of using animals in this way.
The question today is whether ethical considerations will eventually put a stop to this sort of research, or whether these tests will be effective and lead to the fabrication of transplantable organs.