In this rapidly changing world, we are seeing more examples of science fiction becoming science fact. A team of American and Chinese scientists has created the world's first part-human, part-monkey embryo. This fusion of genetic tissue is called a chimera. The scientists say it potentially paves the way for lifesaving medical advances. Bio-scientist Henry Greely explained the importance of this scientific breakthrough. He said: "The long-term goal of this research team is to grow human organs in pigs - kidneys, livers, hearts, etc." He added: "They want to do that to make more human organs for transplants. Tens of thousands of people on a transplant list die every year waiting for a transplant."
The groundbreaking research involved injecting 25 human cells into the embryos of long-tailed macaque monkeys. The human cells developed inside 132 of the embryos. The scientists studied the development of the embryos for 19 days. Many people are disturbed by the research and believe it belongs to the realm of horror movies. Professor Greely said he appreciated that there are many ethical concerns around the creation and use of chimera. He said: "Every time a person gets an organ transplant, the result is an intra-species chimera - an organism made up of cells from two members of the same species....When a human gets a pig heart valve, she becomes an inter-species chimera."