Inter-species chimeric research: call to broaden discussion

As scientists move closer to making part human, part animal organisms, what are the concerns? Prof Megan Munsie and Dr Julian Koplin explain in The Conversation.

The recent announcement that scientists have made human-monkey embryos and cultured them in the lab for two weeks made international headlines.

The technology to make animals that contain cells from other species has been available for decades and used extensively in research. These organisms are called “chimeras”.

But this latest advance highlights the need to broaden the discussion around the possible benefits of such research and, specifically, how inter-species chimeric research should be conducted in future.

Human-animal chimeras blur the line about what it means to be human, and this raises serious ethical questions about how we should use them.

Read the full article by Professor Megan Munsie, Deputy Director of the Centre for Stem Cell Systems at the School of Biomedical Sciences and Dr Julian Koplin, Research Fellow in Biomedical Ethics, Melbourne Law School and Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

The Conversation