Scientists Create First Human-Animal Embryo
Scientists in China have created the worlds first embryonic chimeras, hybrid embryos that contain human and rabbit DNA, according to the Journal of Cell Research.
The Greek mythological creature called the chimera was a fire-breathing she-monster, with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and a serpent for a tail. A chimera has come to mean any hybrid of two or more creatures and is a term used in genetics.
In the Chinese experiment, human nuclei was extracted from foreskin tissue and facial tissue from males and females ages 5-60. Samples were obtained from tissue discarded after surgery.
The somatic nuclei were then transplanted (nuclear transfer) into extracted New Zealand rabbit eggs and allowed to develop to the embryonic stage.
The scientists report that the rabbit DNA successfully reprogrammed the human nuclei, causing it to multiply and develop into embryos that contained the human genome and the rabbit DNA.
After several days of development, embryonic stem cells were obtained from the interior and put into frozen storage.
Since the resultant stem cells were found to be encoded by the genome of the donor DNA, the scientists hope that the research could be used to produce cells or tissues for human autologous transplantation.