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It sounds like something you might hear in a nightmarish sci-fi film.
Scientists in New York have created half human-half chicken embryos in what some have described as 'sick' and 'disturbing' experiments.
Researchers - Stem - Cells - Chicken - Embryos
Researchers hope that by transplanting human stem cells onto newly-formed chicken embryos they can find out more about how cells transform into fetuses.
The findings could lead to a whole host of new treatments for developmental disorders, they believe - but it's not without criticism.
Research - Team - Scientists - Direction - Ali
The research was lead by a team of scientists under the direction of Ali Brivanlou at Rockerfeller University in New York.
Scientists already know that embryonic stem cells can differentiate into any of the body's specialised cell types: from bone and brain to lung and liver.
Groups - Cells - Embryos - Role - Structures
They also know that special groups of cells, found in amphibian and fish embryos, play a crucial role in shaping their early developmental structures.
These groups, called 'organisers', give off molecular signals that direct cells to grow and develop in specific ways.
Organiser - Embryo - Host - Column - System
When an organiser is transplanted from one embryo to another, it spurs its new host to produce a secondary spinal column and central nervous system, complete with spinal cord and brain.
Due to the ethical guidelines that limit experimentation on human embryos, however, they did not know if a similar organiser existed in humans.
Massachusetts - Example - Experiments - Embryos - Days
In Massachusetts, for example, experiments can be performed on embryos that have not experienced more than 14 days of development. This...
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