Chinese biologists injected human stem cells into a monkey embryo and studied its development for 20 days. As the study leaders explained in their findings, this will help to better understand the developmental biology and evolution of animals.
Chinese scientists indicated that life in chimera embryos was only supported for up to 20 days, and certain types of experiments could not be carried out on humans. The researchers also added that it is possible to conduct primate embryos for a number of studies, but they have quite a lot of differences from humans.
The history of the creation of interspecies chimeras began in the 1970s. At first, the experiments were carried out on rodents. Later, scientists from China and the United States created technology that allowed monkey embryos to remain alive and grow outside the body for an extended period of time.
A six-day-old monkey embryo was injected with 25 human pluripotent stem cells. One day after, human cells were already found in 132 embryos. After 10 days, 103 chimeric embryos remained. But then the survival rate dropped sharply, by the 19th day, signs of life were observed only in three chimeras. But the percentage of human cells remained high.
Transcriptome analysis was performed on both human and simian cells taken from embryos. Several pathways of previously unknown cellular communication have been discovered. As a next step, biologists want to find and investigate all the pathways of cellular molecular communication and understand which ones are to what extent involved in the development of the embryo. The research is published in the journal Cell.