Scientist claims to have created the first human-monkey hybrid

News 02/08/2019

There really is no end to what science can do, whether we want it to do those things or not. 

This one comes under the 'But why?' column, with a Spanish scientist claiming he's successfully grown the world's first human-monkey hybrid in a lab in China. 

Led by scientist Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, a team of researchers genetically modified monkey embryos to deactivate genes that are essential to the formation of organs. They then injected human stem cells, which can create any type of tissue, into the embryo. 

Basically what this resulted in was a monkey with human cells, but it hasn't been born because researchers stopped the process. 

"The results are very promising," says Núñez, a biologist and vice chancellor of research at UCAM (United States and the Murcia Catholic University). 

More details haven't been provided because the team are waiting to publish their findings in an internationally renowned scientific journal. 

"From UCAM and the Salk Institute we are now trying not only to move forward and continue experimenting with human cells and rodent and pig cells, but also with non-human primates," explains Izpisúa. "Our country is a pioneer and a world leader in these investigations," he adds.

There are obviously ethical concerns with these type of experiments though. Angel Raya from the Centre of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona proposed the questions of "What happens if the stem cells escape and form human neurons in the brain of the animal?"

"Would it have consciousness? And what happens if these stem cells turn into sperm cells?"

Nunez explained though that if the stem cells start to form a human brain, they will 'self-destruct'. Hmmm, seems legit. 

Get ready for a real-life Planet of the Apes we say.