Gene Editing, Cloning And Transplanting Pig Organs Into Humans

Organ transplants from animals to humans is not a reality yet, but with advances in gene editing techniques, the dawn of that day is getting closer and closer. One advance in transplanting pig organs concerns the scientific recreation of gene-edited piglets whose genetic makeup is suitable for human transplantation.

CRISPR Editing And Cloning Save The Day

#2. CRISPR Gene Editing

Gene Editing, Cloning And Transplanting Pig Organs Into Humans
Catalin Rusnac / Shutterstock.com

The new research, which was published in the journal, Science, combines two great achievements in recent years; namely, gene editing and cloning. The work is new and exciting, and also at least at this point, a bit unpredictable. Through the advancements of CRISPR gene-editing technology, the viral DNA is simply snipped from the pig genomes and the edited cells are then cloned. Pig heart valves have been successfully transplanted into humans on a routine basis, paving the possible way for entire organ transplants in the near future.

Issues of Religion, Animal Welfare And Animal Exploitation

Most religious groups are in favor of transplanting pig organs to sustain human life, but there are other moral issues concerning animal welfare and exploitation. It is estimated that currently 100 million pigs are slaughtered each year in the United States for food. The scientific argument is geared towards numbers. They claim that the few thousand pigs bred for their organs would  comprise just a small fraction of that total and that the animals would be anesthetized and killed humanely.

eGeneisis Founded To Sell Pig Organs

Dr. George Church, a geneticist at Harvard who led the experiments, believes the first transplanting of pig organs in humans could occur within the next two years. His company, eGenesis, was founded as a source for selling the genetically altered pig organs. His hope is that he will be able to genetically engineer pigs with organs so compatible with humans that patients will not need to take anti-rejection drugs.

Either way, it may pay to be a human, but pig lives are still expendable.

Contemplate this alternative and…

Go figure.

Thank you! Don't miss new stories, like our facebook page: