A new story in Spanish newspaper El País claims that scientists are growing the first human-monkey hybrid embryos in a Chinese laboratory.
According to El País’ report, a research team led by Spanish scientist Juan Carlos Izpisúa is creating these human-monkey hybrids by taking monkey embryos and using gene editing technology to deactivate genes needed to form certain organs. The researchers are then injecting human stem cells into the embryos.
The idea is that monkeys born from these embryos will have organs that doctors could transplant into human patients — but currently, the team is destroying the embryos within 14 days of gestation.
Researcher Estrella Núñez told El País she couldn’t provide any more details on the study as the researchers are “waiting to publish their findings in an internationally renowned scientific journal.”
As with any research claim, this one should be taken with a grain of salt until it undergoes a rigorous peer review.
However, if everything written in El País is story is true, this study could mark a major turning point in scientific research — one that has the potential to save countless lives but that could also permanently change what it means to be human.
READ MORE: Scientists are making human-monkey hybrids in China [MIT Tech Review]
More on chimeras: This Guy Is Trying to Grow Organs in Pig-Human Hybrids