Move over Universal Soldiers and Planet of the Apes , human hybrids are real. A team of scientists have created the world’s first “human-monkey hybrid” in a laboratory in China. These hybrid creatures would produce human organs for transplant purposes. This may sound disturbing, but its true.

The team led by Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a Spanish-born biologist who runs a lab at California’s Salk Institute, created human-animal chimeras. They achieved this by injecting human stem cells into a monkey embryo. However, the experiment was stopped before the hybrid creature could be born. 

The trials were done in China to skirt a ban on such experiments at home.

The scientists claim this was only a trial as such procedures were banned at home. Sources say the trial was stopped half way because of ethical concerns and fears of the human stem cells migrating to the brain. They said a human-monkey hybrid could have been born if they hadn’t put a stop to it.

Technology Review stated that the objective of the research was to design or create animals that possess organs like a liver or kidney made of entirely human cells, which could be used for transplantation in the near future. Reports said that Izpisua Belmonte had ealier tried to create the same but he had injected human cells in pig embryos which failed.

Scientists believe monkeys are genetically closer to humans, and thus these kinds of experiments are more likely to succeed. However, Pablo Ross, a veterinary researcher at the University of California, who had previously worked with Izpisua Belmonte on the pig-human chimeras, said it doesn’t make sense to grow human organs in monkeys. Ross argues that they are very small, and they take too long to develop. He said injecting human cells into monkey embryos could address questions of evolutionary distance and interspecies barriers.

But to date, no half human-half monkey being has been created. Various scientific journals reveal that the required legal framework has not been created to support and protect such developments. There are fears that the legal gap may lead to abuse of scientific research to obtain illegal benefits as well as undermine the intellectual property rights of scientists and researchers.