Japan: Human-Animal Chimeras On Fast Track

ChimerasImage: Norrie Russell
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The U.S. is already 4 years ahead of Japan in creating chimeras by injecting human stem cells into animal embryos. Technocrat scientists invent because they can, not because there is a moral imperative to do so. ⁃ TN Editor

Supporters say research could be vital first step towards growing organs that can then be transplanted into people in need

Human-animal hybrids are to be developed in embryo form in Japan after the government approved controversial stem-cell research.

Human cells will be grown in rat and mouse embryos, then brought to term in a surrogate animal, as part of experiments set to be carried out at the University of Tokyo.

Supporters say the work – led by renowned geneticist Hiromitsu Nakauchi – could be a vital first step towards eventually growing organs that can then be transplanted into people in need.

But opponents have raised concerns that scientists are playing God.

They worry the human cells could stray beyond the targeted organs into other areas of the animal, effectively creating a creature that is part animal, part person.

For that reason, such prolonged experimentation has been effectively banned or gone unfinanced across the world in recent years.

In Japan itself, scientists were forbidden from going beyond a 14-day growth period. But those laws were relaxed in March when the country’s education and science ministry issued new guidelines saying such creations could now be brought to term.

Now, Dr Nakauchi’s application to experiment is the first to be approved under that new framework.

“We don’t expect to create human organs immediately, but this allows us to advance our research based upon the know-how we have gained up to this point,” he told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

He added that he planned to proceed slowly, and will not attempt to bring any hybrid embryos to term for some years, rather growing the hybrid mouse embryos to 14.5 days, when the animal’s organs are mostly formed, and the hybrid rat embryos to 15.5 days.

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James ReinhartElle Recent comment authors
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Between OAC’s ridiculous bug-eyed accusations and inflammatory attitudes as if she’s a cop, a priest or our mother and the scientific community of intensely stupid intellectuals all I can say is shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Ugh.

James Reinhart
James Reinhart

Designer babies are a reality and probably far more advanced than anyone can think https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612258/are-we-designing-inequality-into-our-genes/. From MIT. Chimeras have long been taught in schools even back in my grade school days in the 1960s. Back in the early 60s, my weekly reader had articles of human, essentially brainless bodies for life sciences and long term space exploration. Life itself is being wiped out over the centuries and the Brave New World has been active for well over 100 years when Eugenic took hold in Great Britain and the US. Meanwhile, culling the population has also been with us for the… Read more »