End the duopoly

New human-mouse chimera is the most human yet

This mouse-human chimera shows human cells (green) in a 17-day-old mouse embryo (blue) that are mostly red blood cells accumulated in the mouse’s liver. A newly-created mouse-human embryo contains up to 4% human cells — the most human cells yet of any chimera, or an organism made of two different sets of DNA.

Surprisingly, those human cells could learn from the mouse cells and develop faster — at the pace of a mouse embryo rather than a more slowly developing human embryo. That finding was “very serendipitous… We did not really foresee that,” said senior author Jian Feng, a professor in the department of physiology and biophysics at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Successfully growing human cells in mouse embryos might one day help scientists understand the growth and aging process of our bodies and how diseases such as COVID-19 damage cells — and could eventually even serve as a scaffold to grow organs for transplantation, Feng said.

Feng and his team tackled a long-standing issue in creating such chimeras: that in order for human embryonic stem cells and mouse embryonic stem cells to chat and mingle, they needed to be in the same state of development. Embryonic stem […]

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