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About Hybrids & Chimeras


Hybrid animals are created when gametes (reproductive cells) from different species join to form a single embryo. A mule, for example, is the offspring of a female horse and a male donkey. Every cell in the body of hybrids contains genetic material from both parents.

Chimeras, named after creatures from Greek mythology, are created artificially by combining genetic material from different species into a single embryo. The adult animals that develop have different populations of cells that reflect different contributions from the species from which they were produced. Scientists have created the geep, for example, by combining genetic material from both a goat and a sheep.

Partially human hybrid embryos have been created by fusing human cells and animal eggs, and partially human chimeric embryos have been created by injecting human embryonic stem cells into animal embryos. Most scientists want to produce such embryos only for research, and oppose experiments that would allow human-animal chimeras to be brought to term.

The prospect of human-animal chimeras troubles many people and raises troubling questions about their moral and legal status. Would a human-animal chimera have human rights? Could it be patented and owned? What if it were 99.9% human and 0.1% chimpanzee? What of the reverse situation?



In Search For Cures, Scientists Create Embryos That Are Both Animal And Humanby Rob SteinNPRMay 18th, 2016Gene-editing science raises bioethical concerns.
In IVF, Questions About ‘Mosaic’ Embryosby Kira PeikoffThe New York TimesApril 18th, 201620% of embryos have both "normal" and "abnormal" cells, generating false positive genetic test results, and questions among fertility clinics about whether to implant.
CRISPR patent belongs to aliensby Sara ReardonNatureFebruary 29th, 2016Returning with a new season after over a decade, The X Files uses technologies like CRISPR gene editing to tell stories at the intersection of science, politics, and conspiracy theories.
Human Babies from CRISPR Pigsby Stuart NewmanHuffPost ScienceFebruary 29th, 2016300 years after Jonathan Swift, can anyone doubt that the grandchildren of some people born this year will be delivered fresh off the farm?
A Monkey Circles in a Cageby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 29th, 2016Researchers created transgenic monkeys with a gene duplication associated with Rett Syndrome autism in humans, raising concerns of the limits and ethics of using animal models in biomedical research.
Human Genetic Alteration and Gold Mines: California's Stem Cell Agency Takes a Hard Look at Research Standardsby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJanuary 27th, 2016The $3 billion California stem cell agency will convene a livestreamed day-long meeting to examine agency policies dealing with human gene editing.
Will creating monkeys with autism-like symptoms be any use?by Sam WongNew ScientistJanuary 25th, 2016Researchers are divided on whether a condition like autism can be meaningfully reproduced in monkeys.
Human-Animal Chimeras Are Gestating on U.S. Research Farmsby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJanuary 6th, 2016A radical new approach to generating human organs is to grow them inside pigs or sheep.
Move Over, Jony Ive — Biologists Are the Next Rock Star Designersby Liz StinsonWIREDNovember 18th, 2015A biotech startup that calls itself an "organism design foundry" and works with designers and artists is part of a US bioeconomy that already generates $350 billion annually.
Should Human Stem Cells Be Used To Make Partly Human Chimeras?by Rob SteinNPRNovember 6th, 2015The NIH has declared a moratorium on research that puts human stem cells into nonhuman animal embryos.
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