Scientists have created embryos that, for the first time, are a hybrid of human and monkey cells, NPR reports.
An international team of scientists stated in a paper published to Cell on Thursday that this creation is intended to help find new ways to grow needed organs for those requiring transplants.
Scientists injected 25 induced pluripotent stem cells from humans into the embryos of macaque monkeys which are a closer genetically to humans than sheep or pigs previously experimented on in recent years in the US.
Researchers were able to detect human cells in 132 of the embryos just one day after injections, and were studied 19 days before being terminated.
Many scientists are split on the ethicality of the research, citing a wide variety of concerns or potential good that could come of the research on chimeras
"My first question is: Why?" fellow for science and technology at Rice University's Baker Institute Kirstin Matthews said. "I think the public is going to be concerned, and I am as well, that we're just kind of pushing forward with science without having a proper conversation about what we should or should not do."
"This is one of the major problems in medicine — organ transplantation. The demand for that is much higher than the supply," said Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte a professor and co-author of the Cell study.
"Our goal is not to generate any new organism, any monster, and we are not doing anything like that. We are trying to understand how cells from different organisms communicate with one another," said Belmonte.
"I don't see this type of research being ethically problematic. It's aimed at lofty humanitarian goals," bioethicist at Case Western Reserve University and Harvard University Insoo Hyun said.
Hyun also noted that research like this could help the thousand of people that pass away while waiting for an organ transplant in the United States.