Night of the Lepus

Cloning Yields Human-Rabbit Hybrid Embryo

Scientists in China have, for the first time, used cloning techniques to create hybrid embryos that contain a mix of DNA from both humans and rabbits [...] More than 100 of the hybrids, made by fusing human skin cells with rabbit eggs, were allowed to develop in laboratory dishes for several days before the scientists destroyed them to retrieve so-called embryonic stem cells from their interiors. Although scientists in Massachusetts had previously mixed human cells and cow eggs in a similar attempt to make hybrid embryos as a source of stem cells, those experiments were not successful. [...]

The team said it retrieved foreskin tissue from two 5-year-old boys and two men, and facial tissue from a 60-year-old woman, as a source of skin cells. They fused those cells with New Zealand rabbit eggs from which the vast majority of rabbit DNA had been removed. More than 400 of those new, fused entities grew into early embryos, and more than 100 survived to the blastocyst stage -- the point at which coveted stem cells begin to form.

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19 Responses:

  1. wasteddream says:

    Why are you linking to that story through a picture of hep?

  2. azul_ros says:

    Guess that means the offspring from this experiment could get myxamatosis? How bizarre!

  3. abates says:

    Yup, I knew it. It was only a matter of time before someone started trying to create unholy crossbreeds. Today bunnymen, tomorrow hordes of lizardmen overrun the Earth.

    Still, perhaps it means my dream of having a pet cacodemon (one of the big round ones from DOOM) is nearing reality. I would call him Gus and he could float around the house (though I would have to train him not to set the curtains on fire, of course).

  4. freiheit says:

    I for one, welcome our new long-eared, hopping masters.

  5. ex_ilk says:

    "No, Echo, you are not like other children. Unfortunately, we have more bad news for you. Do you know what a foreskin is?"


  6. kyzoku says:

    What's the point of this, exactly? To get around the fundies who don't want us killing human embryos for stem cells?

    • jwz says:

      Read the article -- it's much cheaper/more efficient to extract eggs from lab animals and mod them, than to harvest embryos from humans.

      It apparently doesn't help with the fundies anyway: "I think because all the nuclear DNA is human," Doerflinger [of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops] said, "we'd consider this an organism of the human species."

  7. brianenigma says:

    I keep reading "rabbit eggs" and keep getting a mental image of the Cadbury Bunny, no matter how hard I try to think biology and DNA.

  8. cetan says:

    What, no screen capture from "Donnie Darko" ?

  9. netik says:

    Please, oh please, tell me what that photo is from.

  10. baconmonkey says:

    and in other news, reports are flooding in about sightings of a large man dressed in purple fighting with little old ladies in the streets of beijing.

  11. zapevaj says:

    You know, somehow I always knew the Furry agenda would get involved in genetic engineering.