Chinese researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have successfully created a monkey composed of two types of cells from two different embryos. This phenomenon, known as a “chimera,” has previously been demonstrated only in mice and rats but never in other species, including non-human primates. The study has been published in the scientific journal Cell.
As reported by AGI, scientists used monkeys called cynomolgus macaques, commonly used in biomedical research. They generated pluripotent stem cells (capable of transforming into many types of cells) from seven-day-old embryos and cultured them in the laboratory. Subsequently, they selected some of these stem cells and injected them into very young monkey embryos before full development.
These modified embryos were then implanted in female macaques, resulting in 12 pregnancies and six live births. Analyses confirmed that at least two of the born monkeys contained a mixture of cells derived from stem cells and normal cells. This implies that these monkeys are “chimeric,” possessing two different types of cells in their bodies. Scientists found that these stem cell-derived cells transformed into various tissues, including the brain, heart, kidney, liver, and digestive system.
The quantity of stem cells in each tissue varied, but on average, it was around 67% across the different tested tissues. This discovery is significant as it may contribute to a better understanding of stem cells in primates, including humans. Moreover, it could be valuable for neurological disease research and other biomedical studies by allowing the creation of more precise monkey models for study purposes.