(BioEdge) — In a stunning example of evading ethical controversy by exporting it, Spanish and American researchers have created monkey-human chimeras in China. The hybrid embryos will be destroyed after they develop a central nervous system and will not be brought to term.
The experiment is ethically risky. What if the human stem cells develop in the monkey brain and become conscious? What if they become sperm or egg cells? Although the researchers, from The Salk Institute, in California, and Murcia Catholic University (UCAM), brush off these fears, they are legitimate and widely-shared.
“We are doing the experiments with monkeys in China because, in principle, they cannot be done here,” Estrella Núñez, of UCAM, told El Pais. “What we want is to make progress for the sake of people who have a disease.” She says that if “if human cells migrate to the brain, they will self-destruct.”