Zanjani's human-sheep Chimera
Scientists hope to be able to use animals such as sheep as proper organ donors for humans

The University of Nevada's professor Esmail Zanjani has successfully created the world's first human-sheep chimera, comprised of 85 percent animal cells along with 15 percent human cells.  The animal has the body of a common sheep with organs that are all half-human.  So far, Zanjani has put seven years of research and around ~$9 million of money into the research, with the injections of human cells into a sheep's fetus as one of the crucial steps.

Zanjani also has successfully created a sheep liver that is composed of a large amount of human cells.  The overall goal behind the research is to be able to use animal organs as a viable option when humans need an organ transplant.  Ultimately, stem cells would be taken from the donor and injected into a sheep's fetus.  After a lamb is born in about two months, the heart, lungs, liver and brain could all be compatible with the donor.

Zanjani's research on this particular project has undergone trials for years, with the first proposals initiated in 2000.  His original paper published seven years ago is still publically available.

Announcement of the research will also give further life to an ongoing bio-ethical debate that is going on around the world.  One of the criticisms of the research includes the possibility of creating a type of "biological nightmare in humans."  Silent viruses, completely harmless to animals, could be passed to humans, warns Patrick Dixon, an international lecturer on biological trends.

On the other hand, if Zanjani's research flourishes, organ donor waitlists may become a thing of the past.

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