Japan Govt Extends Support To Create Human-Animal Hybrid Embryos
In a first, the Japanese government extends support to a Japanese stem-cell scientist to create animal embryos that contain human cells and transplant them into surrogate animals.
Scientist Hiromitsu Nakauchi plans to grow human cells in mouse and rat embryos and then transplant those embryos into surrogate animals. The ultimate goal is to produce animals with organs made of human cells that can, eventually, be transplanted into humans.
Japan’s education and science ministry allowed the creation of human–animal embryos that can be transplanted into surrogate animals and brought to term. Nakauchi’s experiments are the first to be approved under Japan’s new rules.
However, there are concerns about the possibility that human cells might stray beyond development of the targeted organ, travel to the developing animal’s brain and potentially affect its cognition.
Earlier, similar projects were launched in the United States in 2015. But later the National Institute of Health banned it.
(With inputs from an article published in Scientific American)