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Science & Technology

US scientists to grow human organs in pigs

By T.K. Randall
June 6, 2016 · Comment icon 38 comments



Pigs could be the key to solving the transplant organs crisis. Image Credit: PD - Steven Lek
It is hoped that the technique will help to solve the worldwide shortage of human organs for transplant.
With waiting lists for some organs stretching back years, a team of scientists at the University of California, Davis are working to produce human-pig embryos known as chimeras which could one day be used to custom-grow replacement organs using the recipient's own DNA.

The process begins by using a technique known as CRISPR gene editing to remove the DNA from a pig embryo that would enable the foetus to grow a specific organ such as a pancreas.

This genetic 'niche' is then filled with human induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cells which, if all goes to plan, will eventually grow in to an actual human organ within the body of the fully-grown animal.

"Our hope is that this pig embryo will develop normally but the pancreas will be made almost exclusively out of human cells and could be compatible with a patient for transplantation," said reproductive biologist and study leader Pablo Ross.
The patient receiving the organ wouldn't even need to use immunosuppressants.

"The organ would be an exact genetic copy of your liver but a much younger and healthier version and you would not need to take immunosuppressive drugs," said Professor Walter Low.

The research however has not been without a degree of controversy with some researchers warning that making a pig 'more human' could represent significant ethical concerns.

There are even claims that some of the human cells could migrate to the animal's brain.

"We think there is very low potential for a human brain to grow, but this is something we will be investigating," said Ross.

Source: BBC News | Comments (38)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #29 Posted by docyabut2 7 years ago
Comment icon #30 Posted by seeder 7 years ago
† Strange! Its just a myth † †
Comment icon #31 Posted by Nnicolette 7 years ago
I know... My dad looked it up and said the same thing. Well i didnt do it but i watched my friend and there were lots of little bitty worms and one big maggot. So yum safeway. Anyways i think it may work but alot of the pork in stores now may be cleaner from better farming practices. Still not something i would want to eat. Pigs are very†intelligent. One time i saw three put in a pen at the fair and without seeming to communicate one went to push down a board latch, another pulled up on the other end and the other pushed the gate open to take off. Anyways i really think mixing human dna wont m... [More]
Comment icon #32 Posted by Rlyeh 7 years ago
So the story changes. How drunk were you at the time?
Comment icon #33 Posted by Nnicolette 7 years ago
How did the story change? And i dont drink thank you. How drunk are you that my post keeps changing? Is it a big deal if i didnt physically pour the coke but rather watched my friend? Yes i still consider that having done. Hiw odd people are that it takes this many posts and proddings just to explain why i dobt eat pork. You guys will try to disprove anything. We should put all these overactive analyzers to work here and actually make a positive assessment or prove something for once rather than feeling like we disproved it by heckling †usually rather misled and ineffectively. So i think pork ... [More]
Comment icon #34 Posted by rashore 7 years ago
There is absolutely zero of anything proving links of pork to cancer. Nothing. Unprocessed pork is not linked to caner, period. However, there have been studies that seem to indicate that some processed meats in general may have links to causing cancer. That's due to all those salts, smokes, cures, and preservatives that are used in curing, smoking, and processing meats, not the meats themselves. This includes things like bacon and ham, but also many lunchmeats, sausages of many meat types, and often can include beef jerky and other dry-cured meats as well. † I think it's fine that you think p... [More]
Comment icon #35 Posted by seeder 7 years ago
My thoughts are....the food industry cannot afford to serve meat with worms in it, they would be closed down pretty damned quick, plus most meat (in the western world anyway), is bought up with very high standards and pumped full of antibiotics. If you could buy meat with worms in, you could probably win a multi million dollar lawsuit
Comment icon #36 Posted by Rlyeh 7 years ago
Do you eat beef? They can have parasites too such as tapeworm.
Comment icon #37 Posted by Rlyeh 7 years ago
Dr. Josh Axe (who isn't a medical doctor BTW) is clearly full of **** when he states sweating removes toxins from the body, the kidneys and liver serve this purpose. The purpose of sweating is to cool the body.
Comment icon #38 Posted by seeder 7 years ago
Chickens....& Turkeys.....to name a couple more....dont have sweat glands either..... yet we eat unbelievable amounts without problems


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