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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Human pig chimera embryo made in lab

27 January 2017


Embryos made by injecting human embryonic stem cells into a pig embryo have been created and analysed by scientists.

It is the first proof that chimeras can be made by combining genetic material form humans and animals. The embryos were implanted into a sow and allowed to develop for a month. It appeared that the human cells were functioning as part of the chimera.

Anthony McCarthy of SPUC commented: "The story we hear today follows on from earlier ones concerning attempts to grow human organs inside pigs. At the time SPUC commented on the development and on some of the ethical issues surrounding it. However, what we learn today is a little different. While the aim of the procedure is the same those conducting such experiments appear at least open to the use of human embryonic stem cells in such experiments, as is implicitly suggested in the paper in the scientific journal Cell. Whatever the issues surrounding the use of human genes and cells in pig embryos, which we previously discussed, it is never acceptable for human embryos to be destroyed in order to obtain their stem cells for use in such experiments. To produce new human beings in order to treat them as sub-human products for the sake of putting their cells into an animal embryo is contemptuous of them and of the nature of procreation. Openness to such possibilities and encouragement of them erodes our humanity."

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