Lab-Grown Embryos Mix Human And Monkey Cells For The First Time

By slipping human stem cells into the embryos of other animals, we might someday grow new organs for people with faltering hearts or kidneys. In a step toward that goal, researchers have created the first embryos with a mixture of human and monkey cells. These chimeras could help scientists hone techniques for growing human tissue in species better suited for transplants, such as pigs.

“The paper is a landmark in the stem cell and interspecies chimera fields,” says stem cell biologist Alejandro De Los Angeles of Yale University. The findings hint at mechanisms by which cells of one species can adjust to survive in the embryo of another, adds Daniel Garry, a stem cell biologist at the University of Minnesota (UM), Twin Cities.

In 2017, researchers reported growing pancreases from mouse stem cells inserted into rat embryos. Transplanting the organs into mice with diabetes eliminated the disease. But cells from more distantly related species, such as pigs and humans, haven’t gotten along as well. That same year, developmental biologist Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and colleagues reported injecting human stem cells into pig embryos. After the embryos had developed in surrogate mother pigs for 3 to 4 weeks, only about one in 100,000 of their cells were human.

The pig study used human skin cells that had been reprogrammed into stem cells. But so-called extended pluripotent stem (EPS) cells, made by exposing stem cells to a certain molecular cocktail, can spawn a greater variety of tissues. In the new study, Izpisúa Belmonte, reproductive biologist Weizhi Ji of Kunming University of Science and Technology, and colleagues tested those more capable cells in a closer human relative—cynomolgus monkeys. They inserted 25 human EPS cells into each of 132 monkey embryos and reared the chimeras in culture dishes for up to 20 days.

The team reports today in Cell that the human cells showed staying power: After 13 days, they were still present in about one-third of the chimeras. The human cells seemed to integrate with the monkey cells and had begun to specialize into cell types that would develop into different organs.

By analyzing gene activity, the researchers identified molecular pathways that were switched on or turned up in the chimeras, possibly promoting integration between human and monkey cells. Izpisúa Belmonte says manipulating some of those pathways may help human cells survive in embryos of species “more appropriate for regenerative medicine.”

Still, the human and monkey cells didn’t quite mesh, notes UM stem cell biologist Andrew Crane. The human cells often stuck together, making him wonder whether there’s “another barrier that we aren’t seeing” that could prevent human cells from thriving if the embryos were to develop further.

In the United States, federal funding cannot be used to create certain types of chimeras, including early nonhuman primate embryos containing human stem cells. The new study was performed in China and funded by Chinese government sources, a Spanish university, and a U.S. foundation. Bioethicist Karen Maschke of the Hastings Center in New York says she is satisfied that the work, which passed layers of institutional review and drew on advice from two independent bioethicists, was performed responsibly.

Human-monkey chimeras do raise a worry, addressed in a report released last week by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (p. 218): that human nerve cells might enter animals’ brains and alter their mental capabilities. But that concern is moot for the chimeras in this study because they don’t have a nervous system. They “can’t experience pain and aren’t conscious,” says bioethicist Katrien Devolder of the University of Oxford. “If the human-monkey chimeras were allowed to develop further,” she says, “that would be a very different story.”

Source: Science Magazine

Nike And Brooklyn-Based Company MSCHF Product Studio Inc Reach Settlement In Lil Nas X ‘Satan Shoes’ Trademark Lawsuit

ike and MSCHF have reached a settlement in the trademark infringement battle over a pair of modified sneakers that were being sold in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X.

Nike filed the suit last week against MSCHF after it launched a pair of modified Nike Air Max 97s called the “Satan Shoes” with Lil Nas X. The shoes, priced at $1,018 and decorated with a pentagram pendant and a drop of human blood in the soles, quickly sold out.

The sneakers drew outrage online, and some called for a boycott of Nike, though the company had nothing to do with the shoe. Nike made a federal filing against MSCHF, and a judge granted a temporary injunction to halt the fulfillment of “Satan Shoes” orders.

A settlement was reached in which MSCHF will issue a voluntary recall on the shoes and offer a buy-back program for previously released modified Nike sneakers it called “Jesus Shoes,” Nike confirmed to NBC News on Thursday.

“If any purchasers were confused, or if they otherwise want to return their shoes, they may do so for a full refund,” Nike said in a statement, reaffirming that it had nothing to do with the shoes. “Purchasers who choose not to return their shoes and later encounter a product issue, defect or health concern should contact MSCHF, not Nike.”

MSCHF agreed to settle the lawsuit after realizing it “already achieved its artistic purpose,” David H. Bernstein, an attorney for MSCHF, told NBC News. The shoes were “individually numbered works of art that will continue to represent the ideals of equality and inclusion,” he said.

“With these Satan Shoes — which sold out in less than a minute — MSCHF intended to comment on the absurdity of the collaboration culture practiced by some brands, and about the perniciousness of intolerance” in partnership with Lil Nas X, Bernstein said.

The release of the “Satan Shoes” coincided with Lil Nas X’s latest single, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” and its accompanying music video. In the video, Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, is seduced out of what appears to be the Garden of Eden, falls into hell and gives the devil a lap dance.

Lil Nas X defended the shoes as the single and the video got increased attention. The single debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

After the release of the song Friday, Lil Nas X put out an open letter to his younger self about coming out. The rapper, who is openly gay, explained that the song was about a guy he met last summer.

“I know we promised to never come out publicly, I know we promised to never be ‘that’ type of gay person, I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist,” he wrote.

The music video for “Montero” includes a voiceover with a similar message.

“In life, we hide the parts of ourselves we don’t want the world to see,” he says. “We lock them away. We tell them, ‘No.’ We banish them. But here, we don’t. Welcome to Montero.”

Source: NBC News

Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans Are at an ‘Alarming Level’, UN Says

Experts from the United Nations (UN) formally expressed concerns about the growing number of attacks against Asian Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the alleged lack of measures from authorities to combat them.

The experts, appointed by the Human Rights Council (HRC), serve as rapporteurs on (1) contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; (2) human rights of migrants; and (3) discrimination against women and girls.

“Racially motivated violence and other incidents against Asian-Americans have reached an alarming level across the United States since the outbreak of COVID19,” experts continued.

These included vandalism, verbal harassment, physical attacks, and refusal of service and access.

Verbal harassment comprised the majority of the incidents. Victims reportedly heard profanities such as “f**ing Chinese,” “die ch*nk die,” “yellow n*****” and “go back to China, b**ch!”

The group also cited the alleged link between President Donald Trump’s anti-China rhetoric and the surge in hate incidents. They noted that his actions have been “seemingly legitimizing” the phenomenon.

Trump has used controversial terms to refer to COVID-19, including “Chinese Virus,” “China Virus,” “China Plague,” “Wuhan Virus,” “Kung Flu.” The World Health Organization (WHO), a specialized agency of the UN, has long opposed the use of such terms.

“Don’t attach locations or ethnicity to the disease, this is not a ‘Wuhan Virus,’ ‘Chinese Virus’ or ‘Asian Virus.’ The official name for the disease [COVID-19] was deliberately chosen to avoid stigmatization,” the agency said in March.

Congress has since introduced bills (House of RepresentativesSenate) condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment. The House passed its version by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) last month, which led to attacks against the official herself.

Food Personality Eddie Huang Announces Closure of Baohaus NYC – Taiwanese Pork Belly Buns that Catapulted ‘Fresh Off The Boat’ Autobiography & TV Show on Asian American Experience

Eddie Huang has just announced the official closing of the bao shop that started it all. Opened in 2009, Huang and his close friends/partners set out to tell their story through food, via delicious pork belly buns (gua bao) to be exact, and Baohaus in New York City‘s Lower East Side was born. Two years later, Baohaus moved to a larger location in East Village where they remained up until now.

The popularity of his New York establishment has aided in catapulting Huang into the fields in which he has always believed saw the least bit of Asian-American presence — Television, film, and literature — to which he has now all successfully offered his voice to. Huang points out that it was not an easy decision with, “We held out as long as we could, but we have decided to close. Shouts to the customers that ran in thinking we were open, it means a lot. It’s been a wild and fulfilling 10-year ride with Baohaus but I’d be lying if I said ‘I can’t believe what’s happened.’”

In the Instagram post, Huang shouted out his team, plugged his upcoming film Boogie, quoted Raekwon, and paid his respects to Prodigy and Anthony Bourdain. And with that, Baohaus turned on their glowing-blue neon sign for the last time. It’s on to the next adventure for the Human Panda.

Source: Hypebeast

Apple launches Apple Music Radio with 2 new stations (Apple Music Hits & Apple Music Country); rebrands Beats 1 as Apple Music 1

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Apple Music Hits will play popular songs from the 80s, 90s and 2000s. Apple Music Country will be playing popular country music songs.

The company has said Apple Music Hits will have daily on-air hosts such as Jayde Donovan, Estelle, Lowkey, Jenn Marino, Sabi, Nicole Sky and Natalie Sky, George Stroumboulopoulos, as well as Ari Melber and others. There are other shows that are set to be hosted by artists like the Backstreet Boys, Ciara, Mark Hoppus, Huey Lewis, Alanis Morissette, Snoop Dogg, Meghan Trainor and Shania Twain.

Oliver Schusser, vice president of Apple Music, Beats, and international content, said this launch has taken a lot of behind-the-scenes work.

“For the past five years, if ever there was a meaningful moment in music culture, Beats 1 was there bringing human curation to the forefront and drawing in listeners with exclusive shows from some of the most innovative, respected, and beloved people in music,” he said. “Now, Apple Music radio provides an unparalleled global platform for artists across all genres to talk about, create, and share music with their fans, and this is just the beginning. We will continue to invest in live radio and create opportunities for listeners around the world to connect with the music they love.”

Apple Music 1 is expected to play the same type of music and have the same content overall as Beats 1.

Source: Appleosophy