A team of researchers from the National Key Laboratory for Stem Cells and Reproductive Biology created the first “pig monkey chimeric” by adding primate cells to pig embryos,media NewScientist reported. A chimeric is any organism consisting of living cells of different genotypes. In short, the researchers added monkey cells to the pig’s embryo and then looked at the piglets.
The team processed more than 4,000 embryos, all of which were implanted with sows, and only 10 piglets were born. The piglet’s appearance remains largely the same, but scientists were able to observe monkey cells, which are genetically edited to emit fluorescence, making them easy to observe. Of the ten piglets, only two are actually chimerins. Both piglets died within a week of birth. The cause of their death has not yet been determined.
It is reported that the purpose of this study is actually to improve the ability to grow organs in pigs. The idea is that as large numbers of organ transplant sons around the world are taking their lives, ready-to-use human organs grown in pigs can provide solutions.