Chinese genetics got a new animal - a hybrid of a pig and a monkey

New advances in xenogenic organogenesis are reported from the State Laboratory of Reproductive Biology in Beijing. This is the name of the process of growing organs and tissues of one species of animals in the body of another, for subsequent removal and transplantation. For the first time, Chinese scientists managed to go all the way from the implantation of monkey stem cells into pig embryos to the birth of new animals (chimeras).

The ultimate goal of creating chimeras is to grow human organs for transplantation to patients, but at this stage, work with human biomaterial is not being carried out. Partly for ethical reasons, but more because of technological complexity. Thus, scientists cannot yet “program” the cultivation of a collection of cells in one place of the donor organism. They simply added macaque stem cells to 5-day-old pig embryos to see how they would develop.

For ease of observation, the cells were supplied with fluorescent proteins. 4, 000 modified embryos were prepared, but most died during the growth process. Only 10 piglets were born, of which only 2 are chimeras, in which the concentration of monkey cells was one per 1-10 thousand cells of the base organism. The cells were found in the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin and spleen of piglets, but none of them got into the reproductive system. This level of chimerization can hardly be called acceptable, but scientists are already glad that they managed to get live hybrids.

Alas, all experimental animals died after a few days, but the reason was not interference with embryos, but errors during IVF. For pigs, it is associated with great risks. These conclusions are confirmed by the fact that the control group of pigs, whose embryos were clean, also died. In any case, the experiment brought biologists a huge array of useful information that will be useful in further research.