Chimera animals are specimens that have at least two sets of genetically different cells. Having more than one set of DNA typically is the result of scientists inserting stem cells into an animal from another animal or even from a different species. For example, in 2011, US scientists were able to create three normal, healthy chimera monkeys whose DNA came from as many as 12 parents by implanting cells from embryos into female monkeys. Scientists believe that by studying chimera animals, they will be able to learn more about how stem cells work, which could help scientists find cures for conditions thought to be caused by damaged cells, such as paralysis and Parkinson’s disease.
More about chimeras:
- In 2003, Chinese scientists created the first chimera animal with human cells by fusing rabbit eggs with human cells.
- Chimera animals are named after the chimera in Greek mythology — a fire-breathing creature that had a goat's body, lion's head and serpent's tail.
- Canada passed a ban in 2004 on chimeras specifically made by transferring human cells or embryos into animals.