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Chimera Research Support

The majority of Americans say they could accept human-animal chimera embryos, a new paper in Stem Cell Reports says.

In 2015, the US National Institutes of Health instituted a moratorium on funding research that included introducing human pluripotent cells into non-human vertebrate embryos. The agency then revisited that policy the following year. 

A University of Minnesota-led team adapted a survey on human-animal chimeric embryo research that was conducted by a group in Japan for use in the US. As they report in their paper, the researchers found 83 percent of the 430 survey participants accepted the injection of human stem cells into genetically modified swine embryos. Additionally, 71 percent supported the development of a pig with a human pancreas and 59 percent were OK with the subsequent transplantation of that pancreas.

"One of the main findings was that there seems to be very broad support, even broader than in the Japanese public, for the different steps of HACE research," co-author Francis Shen from the University of Minnesota, tells The Scientist. "Support was 59 percent, so a strong majority, support all three steps, including the returning of the organ into a human.