Robots or apes?

In the newsletter of “Technology Review” it’s reported a new about human-monkey embryos. It’s a second hand new, but on the other side Technology Review is quite a reliable source, then we can be quite confident that this is not, or not completely,  a “bufala” (hoax).

Here below the complete text. I have been since longtime in doubt whether the future would belong to robots or to apes, I mean apes like the one we have seen in the movies (Planet of the Apes, 1968 – from the book La Planète des Singes, 1963) where human beings and intelligent apes (a new species, named Simius sapiens, according to the author) fight the ones against the other for controlling the Earth.

The rising of artificial intelligence  made me believe, for a while, that the future would belong to robots, but this new can change my thoughts.

Some of my close friends already know that I’m writing a science-fiction novel (better to define it “social fantasy”) based on a love story between a robot and an ape. Probably I’ll never complete the book, whose destiny will probably be the garbage tin, but who knows? May be  in three thousand year I’ll be known as “the writer who saw the future”

Scientists are making human-monkey hybrid embryos in China

 

monkey

 

In a controversial first, a team of researchers have been creating embryos that are part human and part monkey, reports the Spanish daily El País.

Daring biologist: Spanish-born biologist Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, who operates a lab in California, has been working working with researchers in China to perform the research. Their objective is to create “human-animal chimeras,” in this case monkey embryos to which human cells are added.

Why, why? The idea behind the research is to fashion animals that possess organs made up entirely of human cells. Such animals could be used as sources of organs for transplantation.

Making chimeras: The technique involves injecting human embryonic stem cells into a days-old embryo of another species. The hope is that the human cells will grow along with the embryo, adding to it. It was tried previously, but didn’t work. Because monkeys are genetically closer to humans, it’s possible that such experiments could now succeed.

Controversial? Extremely. This procedure is banned in the US, but there is no such rule in China. So far, no part-human part-monkey has been born. Instead, the mixed embryos are only being allowed to develop for a week or two in the lab. Read more here.

 

 

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