Chimera monkeys: ‘reckless scientific adventurism’

Posted on the 6th January 2012

Today’s national newspapers carried (often uncritical) reports of the birth of two macaque monkeys, whose genetic material originates from six ‘parents’. Known as chimeras, for each monkey, diverse parent cells were brought together to create a single embryo, which was then implanted in a surrogate mother.

It is claimed that experiments of this sort can uncover important clues as to the process of embryonic development and how cells and tissues work.

The young monkeys seem to be the sole visible evidence of a long period of experimentation involving numerous host females and an unspecified number of progeny, who would have died in the womb or soon after birth from severe malformations – the process being inherently hazardous and unpredictable. Twins known as Roku and Hex appeared before the cameras, while a singleton, Chimero, received billing but was not shown. It is unclear whether he survived.

Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler:

‘What poses as cutting edge discovery is, in reality, reckless scientific adventurism. Much is promised by way of medical benefits but the result of this kind of activity is appalling and pointless animal suffering. The future of the “miracle monkeys”, Roku and Hex, will be a life of deprivation and a series of invasive experiments before they are killed and their tissues examined. This isn’t progress, it is the worst kind of cruel indulgence.’

Examples of other cutting edge scientific cruelty can be found in Animal Aid’s Victims of Charity report. It focuses on the animal experiments funded by leading medical research charities, which rely on public donations for their income. Read the report.

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