Monkey-pig hybrids created by Chinese scientists
Researchers hope to use so-called Chimera animals to help grow human organs for transplantation.
Chinese scientists have successfully bred monkey-pig hybrids as part of research into growing human organs for transplantation in animals.
Although the two chimera piglets died within a week of being born, both were found to have DNA from macaque monkeys in their heart, liver, spleen, lung and skin.
A team from the State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology in Beijing genetically modified monkey cells to produce a fluorescent protein allowing the researchers to track the cells and descendant cells.
Ten piglets were born, of which two were so-called chimeras.
The monkey cells made up only one in 1,000 and one in 10,000 of the remaining pig cells.
The scientists are aiming to repeat the experiments to create healthy animals with higher concentrations of monkey DNA and to eventually reproduce an animal with an organ containing only monkey DNA.
The research paper, published in Protein and Cell, said the results brought the team “one step closer to producing tissue-specific functional cells and organs in a large animal model…”