Researchers Produce World's First Chimeric Monkeys

Posted on January 5, 2012

Worlds First Chimeric Monkeys

Researchers have produced the world's first chimeric monkeys. The bodies of these rhesus monkeys are composed of a mixture of cells representing as many as six distinct genomes. The researchers say they essentially glued cells from separate rhesus monkey embryos together and successfully implanted these mixed embryos into mothers. The monkey's names are Roku and Hex. Take a look:

The researchers say the key to the chimeric monkeys was mixing cells from very early stage embryos when each individual embryonic cell is totipotent, capable of giving rise to a whole animal as well as the placenta and other life-sustaining tissues.

Shoukhrat Mitalipov of the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University, says, "The cells never fuse, but they stay together and work together to form tissues and organs. The possibilities for science are enormous. We cannot model everything in the mouse. If we want to move stem cell therapies from the lab to clinics and from the mouse to humans, we need to understand what these primate cells can and can't do. We need to study them in humans, including human embryos."

The report was published online ahead of the release of the January 20th issue of MU.

Photo: OHSU

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