A group of Chinese scientists together with the Spanish doctor Miguel Ángel Esteban from the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health have announced the birth in a Shanghai laboratory of the first chimeric monkey created with stem cells from another embryo that could help scientific research into diseases and to the conservation of species in danger of extinction, as published in the scientific magazine 'Cell'.
This is the first time that a chimeric species has been achieved, that is, of hybrid organism, of non-human primates since, until now, It had only been successfully achieved in mice and rats developed through early embryonic complementation with homologous embryonic stem cells, which have been used for the generation of genetic targeting models.
How they have achieved it
To achieve the birth of this chimeric monkey, scientists have systematically tested various culture conditions to establish monkey embryonic stem cells and have optimized procedures for culturing chimeric embryos. This approach generated an aborted monkey fetus and a live chimeric monkey with a high contribution of donated stem cells.
A characterization process demonstrated that donor cells were incorporated efficiently (up to 90%) in various fabrics (including gonads and placenta) of chimeric monkeys. These findings have important implications for the study of naive primate pluripotency and the genetic engineering of non-human primates.
In the study, the researchers systematically tested the effect of various human means of reprogramming somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells in the embryonic stem cells of cynomolgus monkeys and optimized the injection protocols in early monkey embryos and in vitro culture. 'of the injected embryos.
Using these approaches, the scientists demonstrated a high degree of chimerism of monkey embryonic stem cells both in long-term embryo cultures in vitro and during gestation in vivo, producing live offspring that showed between 20 and 90 percent of donor embryonic stem cells in chimeric tissues, including gonads and placenta.
"Our result represents a proof-of-principle demonstration that chimeras can be generated with high contributions of embryonic stem cells in non-human primates through early complementation of embryos with virgin homologous pluripotent stem cells, paving the way for the future generation of genetically modified non-human primates with somatic cell reprogramming into gene-edited pluripotent stem cells," the authors explain in the study.