source– Scientists have published the first peer-reviewed account of creating pig–human hybrid fetuses, a step toward growing animals with organs that are suitable for transplantation into humans.
The team that made these chimaeras also reports the creation of mouse–rat and human–cow hybrids on 26 January in Cell1. Such modified animals could provide researchers with new models for testing drugs and understanding early human development.
To create chimaeras, scientists generally inject pluripotent stem cells — which can become any type of organ — from one species into the early embryo of a second species. In theory, the foreign cells should differentiate and spread throughout the body, but in practice, producing viable hybrid embryos has proven difficult.
To get around this, a team led by developmental biologist Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, used CRISPR gene-editing technology to create mouse embryos without the genes that cause organs to form. The scientists then injected rat stem cells into the mouse embryos and implanted the embryos into a mouse’s uterus.
Because the rat cells still contained genes for organ formation, the resulting chimaeras had organs that were composed largely of rat cells. The animals lived for up to two years, the normal lifespan of a mouse.
Yes. I’ve been waiting for this day for years. Finally, we can combine two animals together. Once this is perfected, the possibilities are endless. With the upcoming war with the aliens, having an army of hybrids could turn the tide. I mean, it worked for the Warriors with the Splash Brothers. In fact, if we can start effectively combine big cats and elephants and rhinos or something, I might officially swing back to #teamEarth.
But I have a feeling it won’t be this smooth. I can already see the backlash the second one of these experiments goes wrong. Some half mole-half hummingbird abomination will come out of the test tube crying out for it’s own death and we’ll start wondering about the ethics of these experiments and how much the hybrids hate their most likely shortened lives. Well, in that case give them all to me. Think of the power you could acquire with an army of perfect predators. I could become the new Alexander the Great. I think it would only take me about a year before I was weeping about the lack of remaining worlds to conquer. And it’d be easy to keep the power, too. Think about it, if I had a bunch of German Shepard/tiger hybrids or something as bodyguards who would mess with me? Sure, they won’t live all that long but that’s why I have hockey shifts for my guards. Fiercely defend me for a year then swap out to live out their last days in peace. My reputation as champion of the hybrid animals would get the regular animals on my side, too. Soon I’d have every non-human in the world at my disposal. I’d be invincible!
My only question is what is the limit of the combinations? If you take sea creature DNA, will they need to be in water? Obviously I’m looking to cherry-pick every animal’s strengths, but do I get their weaknesses, too? Because if I can take an octopus’ smarts, camouflage ability, and eight arms but it can breathe air, then I’m combining it with some panther DNA to create an elite team of ninja-assassins. Can I combine a shark’s smell and motion sensing ability with a condor’s wingspan and range, then add some human speech to create the ultimate recon weapon? Or just go crazy and add some coral DNA with some grizzly bear, Komodo dragon, and armadillo DNA and make the ultimate defensive force to guard my room while I sleep. Because then we’d be cooking with gas. If all those things still have to live in water, then everything got a lot less fun.