In a move that has environmentalists and animal rights activists in uproar, scientists have ‘created’ two genetically modified monkeys using cells from 6 different animals. Named Roku and Hex, the monkeys are reported to be the first chimeric monkeys in existence. The experiment has outraged many scientists, organizations, and other individuals.
Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University in the United States utilized cells from 6 extracted primate embryos and combined them into a single embryo in a laboratory. Afterwards, the scientists implanted it into a surrogate mother monkey. The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), one of many organizations to speak out against the research, criticized the research as ‘deeply disturbing’. The scientific consultant for the organization, Dr. Jarrod Bailey, summarized the ethical concerns surrounding the genetically modified chimeras. Dr. Bailey revealed that the monkeys will most likely suffer and die, in addition to suffering from many malformations caused by the reckless modification.
“Using such highly sentient animals in this research raises enormous ethical concerns and imposes a heavy welfare burden, resulting in severe suffering to many animals,” stated Dr. Bailey. “As few genetically modified animals show the ‘desired’ characteristics, many will be killed even before any research can take place, while others will die of severe and unrelated malformations caused by the genetic modifications.”
From the food supply to insects and primates, genetic modification is slowly consuming the international ecosystem as a whole. While the negative effects of genetically modifying the environment on a smaller scale are certainly well documented, the negative effects of full-scale modification are yet to be fully understood. As GMO crops begin to grow wild, and modified mosquitoes are released into the environment, it may be only a matter of time before the large scale effects are examined if activists do not speak out louder than ever before.