Chinese Successfully Birth Monkey-Pig Chimeras

Let's start with the bad news. There will, in all likelihood, never be a direct sequel to the 1996 Island of Doctor Moreau movie where Marlon Brando had a secret dolphin blowhole on his head and Fairuza Balk was a cat-person hybrid. The good news is that sometimes, life imitates the highest art forms, and we may soon be living out a real world, head canon continuation of the story, as researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences this week announced the successful live births of two pigs implanted with monkey DNA.

Yes, in a big win for fans of real world Michael Crichton novels, Chinese scientists have reportedly created living pig-monkey chimeras, according to Newsweek. The end goal is noble: it's hoped that, with further research, animals could be implanted with human genes and used to grow transplant organs. It's a long way off, with scientists especially concerned about the morality of toying with human genetics, but there's optimism that this could be a step in the right direction.

Monkeying with DNA

Tragically, the monkey/pig hybrids weren't the genetic monstrosities you might have hoped for, with embarrassingly low "monkey cell ratios between 0.001–0.0001 among different tissues," according to the report. That means they were less ManBearPig and more what you'd call "just pigs, basically." Even more tragically, both chimeras were reported to have died within a week, with the cause currently unknown and possibly connected to the in vitro fertilization process used to create the adorable slights against nature. Still, the researchers were optimistic about their findings, saying that they could eventually "pave the way toward overcoming the obstacles in the re-engineering of heterogeneous organs and achieve the ultimate goal of human organ reconstruction in a large animal." The possibilities are endless. Interspecies organ transplantation is only the beginning. By the year 2030, maybe we'll finally have cows that grow chicken nuggets or a reasonably priced way to replace the lower half of the human body with kangaroo legs. Bill Nye was right. Science rules.