SCIENTISTS have created a spliced chimera monkey with glowing green eyes and fingers in a “Frankenscience” world first.
The alien species was created by the Chinese Academy of Sciences using genetic engineering technologies.
The green-eyed chimera monkey was born with stem cells from two embryos and could provide answers to neurological diseases and species conservation.
In Greek mythology, chimeras are a fire-breathing monster that resembles a lion in the front, a goat in the middle, and a dragon in the back.
Similarly, in the scientific world, chimeras are animals that contain groups of cells from two or more organisms with different types of DNA.
The three-day-old animal had a high proportion of cells that came from the same monkey species, the crab-eating macaques, but with different, unique genes.
The chimera monkey is the first of its kind, although success has only been achieved in rats and mice.
For the study, researchers used stem cell lines – a group of cells grown in a laboratory from a single stem cell – taken from a seven-day-old embryo.
These cells were then injected into four- to five-day-old embryos.
The embryos were implanted into female macaques, resulting in twelve pregnancies and six live births.
Of the six monkeys, one baby monkey was born alive and survived for ten days.
The analysis revealed that this male newborn had donor stem cells in 26 different tissue types, ranging from 21% to up to 92%.
Meanwhile, a fetus that suffered a miscarriage was also “essentially chimeric,” the researchers said, with stem cell-derived cells observed in the brain, heart, kidney, liver and parts of the digestive system be.
The mysterious glowing eyes and fingers can be explained by the green fluorescent protein marker that was used to determine which tissues contained cells derived from the injected stem cells.
Although monkeys have been bred in a lab with donor cells before, this is the first time they have achieved outstanding results.
Professor Mu-Ming Poo, scientific director of the Institute of Neuroscience at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said: “Just that several cells are partially distributed throughout the monkey body, without any real formation or clear structures – you can’t really say that.” is, strictly speaking, a chimera.
“The difference is that we now have a very high contribution because the donor cells form a large part of the tissue (and complex structures) throughout the monkey body.”
The research could lead to further discoveries about disease, genetic engineering and the protection of endangered species.
Head of study Dr. Zhen Liu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said: “In particular, this work could help us create more precise monkey models for studying neurological diseases as well as other biomedical studies.”
Read more on the Irish Sun
In 2019, Chinese scientists created the world’s first human-ape chimera that would allow the harvesting of human organs.
But the study has come under fire and raises serious ethical concerns.