sheep human hybrid – Intent on using body parts grown inside unnatural, engineered animals, researchers have achieved a new kind of chimeric first – producing sheep-human hybrid embryos that could one day represent the future of organ donation.
Organ harvesting from bio-engineered pigs & sheep is nothing new – scientists have been trying to find a match for decades. What is first in this kind of research is that they have created the first interspecies sheep-human chimera, introducing human stem cells into sheep embryos, resulting in a hybrid creature that’s more than 99 percent sheep – but also a tiny, little bit like you and me.
Though the human portion of the embryos created in the experiment is exceedingly small the fact that it exists at all, is what generates considerable controversy in this field of research. We cannot deny the fact that the ‘mad scientist’ stereotype is present in this kind of a research and seems to be accounted for somehow, as these divisive experiments may one day provide a unique solution for the thousands of people on donation waiting lists for live-saving organs – most of whom die before compatible body parts can be sourced for them, the researchers explain.
Thought the end result that the scientific community expects to achieve through these bio-engineered research is still a long way off, organs produced in interspecies chimeras could be one way of producing enough supply to meet demand – by transplanting, say, a hybridised pancreas, from a sheep or pig, to a desperate patient.
In any of the cases, for a successful transplant to work the researchers believe that at least 1 percent of the embryo’s cells would need to be human – meaning these first steps demonstrated in the sheep has turned out to be a success.
By increasing the human ratio in the chimera mix inevitably increases ethical qualms about the kind of creature being created, and that too for the sole purpose of having its essential organs harvested.