August 31, 2016
(Eurkealert) – A new bioethical framework for addressing concerns surrounding potentially revolutionary research on human-animal embryos is publishing on Aug. 30, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology. Human-animal embryos, called chimeras, can be produced when human stem cells are transplanted into animal embryos. By creating these types of embryos scientists could potentially grow human organs in large animals, such as pigs and sheep, to help ease the chronic shortage of human organs available for transplantation. This research could also be used to study the causes of many human diseases. But the use of the human cells in this work is controversial and last September, the National Institutes of Health imposed a moratorium on funding the research in response to ethical concerns (private funding was unaffected).
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