Human-Animal Mutant Animal Developed: It’s Not the First!

mouse_ear.jpg

Many reports on-line are coming out about chimeric man-sheep creatures developed.

Scientists have created the world’s first human-sheep chimera – which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs.  The sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells – and their evolution brings the prospect of animal organs being transplanted into humans one step closer.  Professor Esmail Zanjani, of the University of Nevada, has spent seven years and £5million perfecting the technique, which involves injecting adult human cells into a sheep’s fetus.

What is the promise:

He has already created a sheep liver which has a large proportion of human cells and eventually hopes to precisely match a sheep to a transplant patient, using their own stem cells to create their own flock of sheep.

The process would involve extracting stem cells from the donor’s bone marrow and injecting them into the peritoneum of a sheep’s foetus. When the lamb is born, two months later, it would have a liver, heart, lungs and brain that are partly human and available for transplant.

What many don’t realize is that chimeric, transgenic, and xenograpted human-animal research has been going on for some time.  THe genetic research focuses on placing the genes of one species inthe cells of another.  Xenograft research has not gotten much press.  This is what I was extensively involved in.  Here we actually graft human tissue into animals (usually mice) that lack an immune system

My research involved grafting human ovarian tissue into immunodeficient mice and then allowing it to grow, develop, and function.  This ia called a xenograft and the technique has now been developed by several groups.  The hope was to develop techniques to preserve fertility in cancer patients.  There has now been a case reported where human ovarian tissue was frozen, reimplanted (into the woman not a mouse) and resulted in a pregnancy.

The biggest controversies

    1. this could potentially lead to a mouse ovulating a human egg that gets fertilized and become a person
    2. there is unknown potential for interactive effects between the species
    3. there is possibility for new animal viral contamination of the human cells that can be transmitted

When I did xenograft research the animals were locked down as if they has Ebola.   Made Alcatraz look like a Holiday Inn.

The top photo is NOT MY RESEARCH —it is a human ear growing on the back of an immunodeficient mouse by a group working on growing human organs for replacement. This is part of the emerging field of tissue engineering where human tissue and even organs are gorwn in lab dishes.  Read more on that subject ere: Creating tissues that can augment or replace injured, defective, or diseased body parts.

Yes, it is real…

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