Chimerism research paper
From: Emmanuel G.
Category: techniques essay
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A new Cell paper from an international team led by Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte pushes human embryo chimera embryo research further than ever before. It is both exciting work and raises many complex bioethics questions at the same time. By way of background, chimeric human embryos contain a mixture of human cells and those of other animals. They have the potential to shed new light on early human development. Some proponents of this research also argue that this work could ultimately lead to production of much-needed human organs made within the context of any otherwise non-human embryo in the future. For instance, you might be able to get a human kidney grown in an embryo that is otherwise entirely a pig or monkey embryo.
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Human-Monkey Chimera Embryos Spark New Debate on Ethics
Cell competition constitutes a barrier for interspecies chimerism | Nature
I n a ground-breaking experiment, researchers have successfully created the first human-monkey chimera. The work, published in the journal Cell , describes the the first embryo containing both human and monkey cells that was cultured for 20 days. Led by Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, the study represents the culmination of decades of work in understanding early embryo development in non-human species, which Belmonte hopes will now apply to humans. But it is bound to raise serious ethical questions about the implications of combining human cells with those from a different species even if it is a closely related one , and the report was accompanied by commentary from ethicists on how the work should be interpreted and what the careful next steps should be in pursuing this line of study. Belmonte, a professor in the gene expression laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and well-respected for his work in embryo development, is very clear about why he pursued the experiment, and where he hopes it will lead.
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Cell competition constitutes a barrier for interspecies chimerism
A chimera is an organism with genetic material from two or more sources. Experiments in the field may save lives but are ethically controversial. Last week, researchers led by Spanish scientist Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte announced they had created the first human-monkey chimera embryos in China. The purpose of the experiment is to investigate ways of using animals to grow human organs for transplants.
Background: The burgeoning field of biomedical research involving the mixture of human and animal materials has attracted significant ethical controversy. Due to the many dimensions of potential ethical conflict involved in this type of research, and the wide variety of research projects under discussion, it is difficult to obtain an overview of the ethical debate. This paper attempts to remedy this by providing a systematic review of ethical reasons in academic publications on human-animal chimera research.