In a creepy turn of events, scientists have now grown the first human-sheep hybrids, more specifically sheep embryos with human cells.
Researchers from Stanford University and the University of California presented their new work at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, the Guardian reported.
The scientists’ research builds on a controversial breakthrough made in 2017 in which they described similar experiments with human-pig chimeras. A chimera is an organism that has a mixture of genetically different tissues typically formed by embryo fusion, mutation or grafting. This time, by fusing human stem cells into sheep embryos, the scientists were able to grow chimeras into fetal animals over 28 days.
This type of research has been in the works for some time, CERN held a TedX conference named “Breaking the Rules” where mad scientist Madeline Lancaster gave a speech called “Growing mini brains to discover what makes us human.” In her speech, she explained her utter frustration that she couldn’t test on live humans and “play with their brains.” So she found a way around the rules by growing her own brains in embryonic fluid. She happily explained that by using the CRISPR technology, she could cut and edit DNA and cross human DNA with that of a gorilla, happily proclaiming at the end of her speech that she can now play with the human brain.
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CRISPR technology has opened doors to gene-editing that cannot be closed. Testing on hybrids and growing chimeras to harvest organs is only the beginning of the madness. Let me know what you think in the comments down below.
Fiza Pirani. “Scientists create first human-sheep hybrids .” AJC.com. . (2018): . . http://on-ajc.com/2EVqaRf