Scientific Breakthrough: Mixed-Embryo Monkeys

    January 6, 2012
    Julie Griffin
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The first mixed-embryo monkeys were born yesterday, and this is a major stepping stone in medical research. The monkeys were born in a lab in Western Oregon by the combining cells from six different embryos, BBC reports.

What is significant about this feat, is that this is the first time primates have ever been created using this method of mixing embryo cells. “Knock-out” mice would be an example of a scientific method similar to the mixed-embryo monkeys. However, this is literally a whole different animal.

To produce “knock-out” mice, scientists would take the embryonic stem cells, culture these cells in a lab, and then inject the cultured cells into a mouse embryo. With monkeys, their bodies rejected these cultured cells. But scientists discovered that they could get past this barrier by taking embryonic cells from different monkeys in order to produce the same effect.

Here is a graphical abstract of the mixed-embryo process from Science Direct:

monkey embryo

Why should we care? Because these scientists aren’t creating mutant lab pets for pleasure. Many animals and their cells have significantly helped researchers understand and treat diseases such as diabetes, obesity, polio, and rabies.

Fun Fact: The breed of monkey that scientists used is the Rhesus monkey. This is the same monkey that has been launched into space.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stradstu Stan Stephens

    Between medical research and space exploration, I’m pretty sure these monkeys should be running things around here. Great article!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://msn.com Preston H. Hommerbocker II

    Very interesting

  • Linda

    Interesting article. Explained well for the unscientific mind.

  • JJ

    It is so amazing what scientists can do. Thanks for the informative article.

  • adam

    Very interesting and well written article. Oh the things they can do these days!

  • Demetrius

    This is where its starts for planet of the apes….

    Seriously, the products of this can be interesting and life changing for those in need. I have to say though, I just hope U.S. tax payers aren’t paying for research that treats obesity. That’s ridiculous. All of the others, absolutely.

    As for the article, it’s diagram’s images make sense, although ICM injection is a little ambiguous as there’s no reference to it to derive what the abbreviation means. What are “knock out” mice? I get how they are made, but what are they and what significance do they have? A little explanation would go a long way for those who don’t already know.

    Beyond that the article is well written, interesting, and informative. I don’t mean to sound overly critical, but when asked for a comment, these were the things that I noticed. Keep shedding light on this sort of thing, people need it, me included.

  • Pete A

    Nice article! I hope this article is followup up by a progress report to see how healthy those monkeys remain.

  • http://www.australianholidayguide.com mark oliver

    Seems like a slippery slope where so many good and bad things are made possible. Scientists seem to be a pathalogical bunch that are capable to doing really bad things for causes that seem to provide justification in their one track thinking. But, there are no real ways to control it and sometimes we all get benefits. Cross your fingers and hope for the best.

  • Peter

    And the point is…
    Is this just another way of so called scientists another way to inflict pain on a lab animal?
    That will probably have no benefit to mankind or are we looking at ways to make us humans all the same