By DOUG NORRIE
You’ve seen Planet of the Apes right? Did you like how that movie turned out in the end? I’ll give you the cliff notes. The apes won. Well, it appears scientists didn’t get the memo about what happens when we start supercharging primates or just start combining human-related things with monkeys. And sure, I know that monkeys and apes aren’t the same thing, but for our dystopian sci-fi purposes let’s just call it a wash. Because this latest news is pretty groundbreaking. According to a journal article published in The Cell, it turns out that scientists have successfully combined human and monkey embryos for the first time. Good luck world, I think we know how this ends.
This study that landed monkey and human embryos all mixed up together started like all of these things usually do, with someone trying to solve a medical issue. Sure, fine enough. The problem, in this case, had to do with organ transplants and finding a way to better source said organs for procedures. In doing so, scientists began experimentation around cross-breeding these embryos, finding that those of the monkey allowed the process to speed up. Whether this ultimately becomes a good thing in their findings remains to be seen, but for the time being, they have at least proved it to be possible.
The article was published on April 15th as part of a larger study in which human stem cells were injected into monkey embryos. The results were nearly immediate with researchers showing signs of growth within more than 100 monkeys. They are titling this process, an ominous one called a chimeric embryo, relating to the chimera of Greek Myth. You might know this bad boy as the combination of a bunch of different animals to form one scary super animal. This isn’t an interpretation, this is something actually quoted in the study. Though they stop short of referencing the exact fire-breathing monster the Greeks came up with that’s equal part lion, goat, and serpent.
It didn’t take long for the ethics crowd to react to this new monkey-human combination. Though the study apparently began with organ transplants in mind, those in the scientific questioning and morality crowd raised the red flag pretty quickly. One of the concerns stems from the order of operations in the study. It’s clear that this kind of study couldn’t be done within human embryos because of ethical and medical concerns but alarmists say the same considerations should go towards the monkeys as well.
Additionally, there is a sense that this kind of monkey-human embryo combination is only the beginning of actual scientific studies. From here, the leap to half-monkey/ half-man isn’t all that big of one. According to some, it’s now only a matter of time until it happens unless there are restrictions put in place.
Ready for a full monkey takeover? I hope so because only last week we got video of a monkey playing a video game with only its brain. Now they are fixing to combine with humans. It won’t be long until they are taking over the Golden Gate Bridge and laying their claim to Earth as we know it.