In Japan, a Ministry of Science Commission is requesting authorisation for chimeric research in an attempt to culture human organs in animals. This work should probably lead the Japanese Ministry for Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology to revise the law as soon as April.
Currently, and since 2013, the law allows this type of research to be conducted in vitro, i.e. the injection of human induced pluripotent stem cells into animal embryos, but bans the implantation of these chimeric embryos into the uterus of animals. This last point could be amended to authorise the implantation of chimeric embryos in surrogate sows.
Some Japanese scientists have already carried out research of this kind abroad, to circumvent legislation. They believe that Japan should authorise this research because “there is a real need” to extend research in this area and the scientific basis is currently sufficiently sound to generate results.
For further reading:
- Human organoids in rat brains: the return of the chimera debate
- Creation of porcine-human embryos: chimera captivate scientists but raise serious ethical problems
- Shortage of organ donors: are chimera embryos the only solution?
Japan Times (31/01/2018)