Scientists mixing genetic modules from two different animal species may sound like the beginning of a sci-fi movie, but that’s exactly what a team of researchers just did by injecting human stem cells into mouse embryos,media BGR reported. Just over two weeks later, the team acquired more mature mouse embryos, which contained up to 4% of human cells.
These cross-species hybrids, known as chimeras, have long been a novel, but have recently become a reality. Scientists in several countries have conducted experiments in which human cells are added to developing animal embryos. As Science News reports, researchers are adapting a protein to transform human stem cells to bring them back to their previous stages of development. This may be why cells are able to adapt to the new environment after being injected into mouse embryos.
After 17 days of redeveloping embryos, scientists found that human cells had spread to most of the developing animals. They found human cells in mouse tissue that formed the heart and brain, which are particularly abundant in the blood. However, not all embryos develop in the same way, and some have human cells found in their eyes.