British scientists say a new expert body should be formed to regulate experiments mixing animal and human DNA to make sure no medical or ethical boundaries are crossed.
In a report issued on Friday, scientists at the nation's Academy of Medical Sciences said a government organization is needed to advise whether certain tests on animals that use human DNA should be pursued, according to Washington Post.
While humanizing animals in the name of medical research offers valuable insights into the way human bodies work and diseases develop, clear regulations are needed to make sure humanization of animals is carefully controlled.
Extreme scenarios, such as putting brain cells into primates to create talking apes, may remain science fiction, but researchers around the world are constantly pushing boundaries.
Chinese scientists have already introduced human stem cells into goat fetuses and U.S. researchers have studied the idea of creating a mouse with human brain cells -- though they have not actually done so.
Such controversial research needs special oversight, according to a report from Britain's Academy of Medical Sciences on the use of animals containing human material, says Reuters.
Professor Thomas Baldwin, a member of the Academy of Medical Sciences working group that produced the report, said the possibility of humanised apes should be taken seriously.
He said: "The fear is that if you start putting very large numbers of human brain cells into the brains of primates suddenly you might transform the primate into something that has some of the capacities that we regard as distinctively human.. speech, or other ways of being able to manipulate or relate to us.
"These possibilities that are at the moment largely explored in fiction we need to start thinking about now", informs Telegraph.co.uk.
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