Cells, Animals and Human Subjects: Regulating Interspecies Biomedical Research

Book Chapter by Dr. Amy Hinterberger, Dr. Sara Bea – Project Alumna

External link to publication
Download PDF of publication

The availability of new cellular technologies, such as human-induced pluripotent stem cells have opened possibilities to significantly ‘humanise’ the biology of experimental and model organisms in laboratory settings. With greater quantities of genetic sequences being manipulated and advances in embryo and stem cell technologies, it is increasingly possible to replace animal tissues and cells with human tissues and cells. The resulting chimeric embryos and organisms are used to support basic research into human biology. This chapter investigates these transformations in the area of interspecies mammalian chimera. The chapter will explore how human-animal chimeras become objects of regulatory controversy and agreement depending on the concepts, tools and materials used to make them. The final sections of the chapter provide some reflections on the future of chimera-based research for human health, which, as we argue, calls forth a reassessment of regulatory boundaries between human subjects and experimental animals. We argue that interspecies research poses pressing questions for the regulatory structures of biomedicine, especially health research regulation systems’ capacity to simultaneously care for and realign the human and animal vulnerabilities at stake within interspecies chimera research and therapeutic applications.


Hinterberger, A., & Bea, S. 2021. ‘Cells, Animals and Human Subjects: Regulating Interspecies Biomedical Research’ Cambridge Handbook of Health Research Regulation.