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The US National Institutes of Health wants government money to fund research that would mix human cells into animal embryos.
The 2009 NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research does not allow human cells to be injected into animals, nor for the breeding of animals using human eggs or sperm cells.
Some of the researchers believe that the techniques could lead to breakthroughs in trying to tackle diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, while it could also be used to grow organs needed for human transplants.
“Let's say that we have pigs with human brains and they are wondering why we are doing experiments on them,”
“What if we had human bodies with animal brains, and then you say, ‘Well they are not really humans, we can do experiments on them and harvest organs from them’,”
this “is just a road that we should not go down.” While he accepts that the intention is not to create animals with fully functioning human brains, he adds that “we don't have any laws in this country that would stop doing those things.”
“We need to be careful with human brain cells,” he said. “What we don't want is a mouse or a chimp that suddenly has human-like qualities