Japan has authorized a geneticist to create chimeric embryos between human and animal cells. A breakthrough already made possible in the United States, which questions the limits of research in the field of bioethics.
This news difficult to digest for the Japanese population aims to overcome, in the long term, the cruel lack of organ donors around the world.
The process involves implanting, into modified animal embryos, stem cells called “iPS”, for “induced pluripotent cells”. ” The embryo is genetically modified so that its cells do not produce a specific organ, like the pancreas, for example,” said Parisian John De Vos, head of the cellular and tissue engineering department of Montpellier University Hospital (Hérault). Human cells will colonize the animal to create this missing organ. ”
The Japanese Ministry of Science and Education has given the go-ahead for the development of chimeras, human-animal hybrid embryos beyond 14 days and, most importantly, their transplantation into a surrogate uterus.
The director of this new experience is Hiromitsu Nakauchi. The first experiment will be made from mouse and rat embryos so that it can then be transferred to pigs and sheep carrying transplantable organs.