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Are chimera embyros potentially viable?

  1. Jan 27, 2017 #1


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    I read some of this (its way beyond me).


    I was directed to the link from IFLS (google it if you don't know what it is and are curious) so I don't know if its legitimate / peer reviewed stuff or not, but it does read like real research in that for me, it might as well be written in a non-English language.

    Basically discusses the creation of a human / swine chimera embyro that developed for a little while.

    The goal is organ creation. Is it known that such a chimera cannot be viable and develop into an individual, or is is possible that a chimera might be viable, and assessing that is part of the learning curve?

    I am not intending a discussion on ethics, I am curious as to the answer.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2017 #2


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    The research is definitely legitimate and published in peer-reviewed journals (Cell is one of the most prestigious journals in biology). Other peer-reviewed work on http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature21070.html was recently published in the journal Nature. This is not my area of expertise, so I can't answer the questions about viability, but here are some popular press articles covering the two papers:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  4. Jan 27, 2017 #3


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    Chimeras have a long history in research animals (within and between species).
    Depending on the details, they can grow to adults and even create viable germ cells.
    There have been examples of chimeric humans (resulting from the fusion of two twin embryos in utero) that can produce offspring.

    Transplants of organs from other species into mature humans have been made. These probably require immuno-supression drugs to prevent graft rejection by the immune system.

    By making their transplant into an embryo, before the host's immune system develops, the donor cells do not provoke an immune response from their host. However, if these cells were transplanted into a mature human, the human host would most likely provoke an immune response unless immune-suppression was used.

    The goal of this research is to be able to grow organs made of human cells in a non-human body so it can be harvested and transplanted into a human.
    Ideally, the organ would be made with stem cells obtained from the person being transplanted into.
    This should eliminate the possibility of rejection by the immune system.
  5. Jan 27, 2017 #4
    Chimera in here. Do you mean it as hybrid of animals from different genus?
  6. Jan 28, 2017 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    Chimera is defined as one organism with distinct, different sets of chromosomes based on one genome from two separate zygotes. Usually from the same species, but some have been created using genomes from across species, i.e., rat and mouse. Across species usually involves an organ or some biosynthetic pathway.

    There is a lot more to a complete understanding, my snippet above is superficial.

    The US federal government has weighed in on it with regard to humans (bill not passed), so has the Council of Churches:
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