The NIH announced its proposal in a blog post by Carrie Wolinetz, the associate director for science policy, and in the Federal Register.
The purpose is to try to grow human tissues or organs in animals to better understand human diseases and develop therapies to treat them.
Researchers have long been putting human cells into animals — like pieces of human tumors in mice to test drugs that might destroy the tumors — but stem cell research is fundamentally different.
The stem cells are put into developing embryos where they can become any cells, like those in organs, blood and bone.
But the very idea of a human-animal mix can be chilling, and will not meet with universal acceptance.
The NIH’s plan will most likely go into effect in the fall — perhaps with some modifications — after a 30-day comment period that is now open to the public and researchers.
The NIH, which would be a major source of federal funds for this type of work, imposed the moratorium in September to consider concerns about the research.
The studies were just beginning, and the NIH did not have any projects underway involving human-animal chimeras, a term derived from mythological creatures that were part goat, lion and snake.
For the full New York Times story, click here.