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Bizzare & Odd

Japan Approves Groundbreaking Experiment Bringing Human-Animal Hybrids to Term

Stem cell biologist Hiromitsu Nakauchi has been waiting for this moment for more than a decade.

After years of planning, the persistent researcher has at last received approval from a government willing to pursue one of the most controversial scientific studies there is: human-animal embryo experiments.

Pig-human hybrid embryo from earlier research (Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte)

While many countries around the world have restricted, defunded or outright banned these ethically-fraught practices, Japan has now officially lifted the lid on this proverbial Pandora’s box. Earlier this year, the country made it legal to not only transplant hybrid embryos into surrogate animals, but also to bring them to term.

As a lead stem cell researcher at the University of Tokyo and Stanford University, Nakauchi has gone from country to country, chasing his dream of one day growing customised human organs in animals like sheep or pigs.

With more than 116,000 patients on the transplant waiting list in the United States alone, Nakauchi hopes his idea can transform lives.

That ultimate goal is still a long way off, but the next step in his research has at last been given the green light by ministry officials in Japan. As the first researcher to receive government approval since the 2014 ban, Nakauchi plans on taking things slowly so that public understanding and trust can catch up.

“We don’t expect to create human organs immediately, but this allows us to advance our research based upon the know-how we have gained up to this point,” Nakauchi told The Asahi Shimbun.

The experiments will start by injecting human induced pluripotent stem cellsinto rat and mice embryos, all of which have been genetically manipulated so that they cannot make pancreases.

The goal is for the rodent embryo to use the human cells to build itself a pancreas, and for two years, the team plans on watching these rodents develop and grow, carefully monitoring their organs and brains in the process. Only then will the researchers ask for approval to do the same with pigs.

While human-animal embryos have been created in the past – such as pig-human embryos and sheep-human embryos – they’ve never been allowed to develop to term before.

One of the biggest fears with this type of research centers on exactly where these human stem cells actually go in an animal, and what type of cells they could develop into, once they are injected.

While Nakauchi and his team are trying to target this treatment to just the pancreas, if they detect more than 30 percent of the rodent brains are human, they will suspend the experiment. These are part of the government’s conditions to prevent a “humanised” animal from ever coming into existence.

Nakauchi, however, doesn’t think this is going to happen. Last year, he and his colleagues at Stanford successfully made the first human-sheep embryo, and although it was destroyed after just 28 days, the hybrid contained no organs and very few human cells – only about one in 10,000 or less.

“We are trying to ensure that the human cells contribute only to the generation of certain organs,” Nakauchi explained the winter edition of Stanford Medicine’s Out There.

“With our new, targeted organ generation, we don’t need to worry about human cells integrating where we don’t want them, so there should be many fewer ethical concerns.”

Source www.sciencealert.com

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Bizzare & Odd

The Dani cannibal tribe and their smoky dead ancestors

In the Baliem Valley, West Papua Province in Indonesia, lives a weirdly primitive tribe called the Dani People.

A few decades ago, Dani actively practiced ritual cannibalism. It is now reported that this tradition has been discontinued.

In their recent macabre history, there is no less a frightening tradition of smoked dried carcasses of their dead relatives over a fire. And also cutting off the phalanges of women’s fingers.

The phalanges were cut with a stone axe. This procedure is performed for those women who have lost a male relative: husband, son, brother or nephew, to emphasise the pain of loss and to appease the dead’s spirit.

The surgery was primitive and rough, but the wounds on the hands of the women healed well and fairly quickly.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Recently, Italian photographer Gianluca Chiodini visited the village of Dani People and made unique color photographs.

Gianluca Chiodini

Chiodini wandered in the jungle for days trying to find the tribe and finally he was lucky.

The photographer shares:

“The natives greeted me warmly and did not even try to eat me.”

Gianluca was shocked to see the 250-year-old corpses of the dead, Dani’s “eternal” ancestors, completely black from smoking for a long time.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

The guide told the Italian that seven smoked mummies are stored in the village, but only two of them are allowed to be shown to strangers. The rest are taboos, and if the photographer tries to find them himself and photographs them, the natives could kill him.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

To prevent mummies from decomposing, they are removed daily and carefully smeared with ointment of herbs and lard. Then they are hung over the fire so that the smoke can penetrate well into the body. All this has been happening daily for 250 years.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Dani people stopped eating their relatives only after 1990, at least officially. Now the meat they eat is mostly pork.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

The natives hunt wild pigs with bows and arrows. After being captured and killed, the pigs are wrapped in palm leaves and allowed to be smoked by fire, like the mummies of their ancestors.

When the meat is hot, it is considered ready. Men are the first to eat, and women and children eat what is left behind.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Many women in the tribe have their fingers cut off, meaning they have lost many male relatives.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Whether these deaths were in battle with neighboring tribes or through illness, history is silent …

Photo: Mediadrumimages / Gianluca Chiodini

Now, finger-cutting is also considered a forbidden procedure and in young women the fingers are already intact but you can still see the amputated hands of the older women.

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Bizzare & Odd

Shri Karni Mata – Mysterious Temple in India

Deep in the Thar desert, a temple crawling with thousands of holy rats. 

The theme of the emergence of the embryos of civilization on our planet is relentlessly raised in the world. Some are convinced that aliens contributed to this, adherents of Darwinism insist on a different point of view. However, if we consider the first version, there are suggestions that humanity is obliged to rats, which aliens experimented with, in the hope of inventing man. Indeed, the rat and man really have a lot in common, including the genome.

In fact, in the world there is even a temple dedicated to rats. It is located in the Indian city of Deshnok. The name of this temple comes from the name of the mysterious Indian woman – Karni Mata, who was lucky enough to live for more than 150 years. There is a legend according to which this woman was an influential person in the politics and spiritual life of the country, then she suddenly disappeared right in front of her followers. This happened in March 1538. Also, the legend says that Karni is a real embodiment of the goddess Durga.

The temple of rats was built precisely during the life of this divine woman, and its inhabitants (rats) inhabited this temple as the followers of the mysterious Karni Mata disappeared from the face of the earth. According to legend, after death, each student of Karni’s mother turned into a rat and came to a place of concentration of spiritual forces. At the moment, the family of these animals in the temple has about 25 thousand individuals.

There is a belief that if you eat and drink with these rats from one vessel, a person will be able to get rid of all his illnesses and hardships, and also be reborn into such a beast after death.

That is why thousands of pilgrims flock to this temple from all over India and all over the world.

As eyewitnesses testify, rats there really feel quite freely and behave in a businesslike manner. They even have about five hundred families from the human race who bring them offerings, put things in order and organize the rules for visiting the temple with tourists. There is an indestructible rule that if any of the temple visitors accidentally do fatal harm to a rat, he will be required to replace it with a silver or gold figurine.

Despite all the oddities of what is happening in the Sri Karni Mata temple, the question still remains open: why, out of the many sacred animals existing in India, did mother Karni give preference to rats? After all, cats are worthy, and dogs are faithful, and cows are so pure and peaceful. Why are rats honored to have their own temple? Is it because this is one of the wisest and most unusual creatures on earth?

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Bizzare & Odd

Chinese geneticists create huge super-pigs

In the last few years, due to the deadly African swine fever (ASF), there has been a significant shortage of pork in China.

More than one million sick and potentially sick animals have been killed in an effort to stem the epidemic.

Experts predict that by 2020, the country will face a shortage of pork of 10.8 million tonnes.

In an attempt to overcome this situation, geneticists are involved who, through DNA editing, are trying to create “super-pigs” that will be more resistant to disease. They will grow much faster and will be much larger in size than regular pigs.

According to media reports, experimental animals have already been bred and kept on research farms. But, photos have not yet been released to the press.

Pigs. Themed photo

Scientists at the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences are working on the experiments. In addition to the size and disease resistance, they also try to make pork tastier.

Zhao Zhango, a leading researcher, said that a major priority for him and his colleagues was to create a pig resistant to the African plague.

Journalists were able to find that giant pigs that had DNA edited would grow faster and gain more meat, not fat. They will weigh more than 500 kg and will be nearly the size of a polar bear. Currently, the average Chinese pig weighs 175-200 kg.

Obviously, these monstrous pigs will resemble the famous Belgian muscle cattle.

African swine fever is not dangerous to humans but extremely contagious and deadly to pigs. In 2018, there have been outbreaks of plague in many Asian countries, not just China.

Therefore, the price of pork there has almost doubled.

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