Scientists from a biological research organization in California are working towards creating an organism that is part human, part pig in hopes of growing organs for human use via transplants.
Researchers from the Salk Institute have been combining several different types of human cells with pig embryos in petri dishes to determine which types of cells are the best match for the pig embryo.
The human cells which worked best with the pigs’ were infant ones which have the potential to develop into all adult cell types – known as a pluripotent cell.
The cells that survived eventually formed a human/pig embryo, which were then injected into female pigs and allowed to develop for around a month.
According to the lead author of the research, Izpisua Belmonte, the hybrid embryos are developed only for a month to avoid raising ethical concerns.
“This is long enough for us to try to understand how the human and pig cells mix together early on without raising ethical concerns about mature chimeric animals,” says Belmonte.
The researchers have pointed out that even the strongest surviving cells in the experiment were relatively weak, but the research remains in the trial and error process.
Dr. Belmonte: “At this point, we wanted to know whether human cells can contribute at all to address the ‘yes or no’ question.”
“Now that we know the answer is yes, our next challenge is to improve efficiency and guide the human cells into forming a particular organ in pigs.”
The next step in the experiment will be to edit the genetics of the pig’s genome so that they can fit human cells, according to Express.
The scientists hope that they will eventually be able to grow human organs inside of pigs to combat a growing global shortage of organ donors.
“The ultimate goal is to grow functional and transplantable tissue or organs, but we are far away from that,” says Dr. Belmonte. “This is an important first step.”
Pigs are an ideal candidate as their organs, specifically the heart and kidneys, are very similar to that of humans.
Needless to say, we are not in Kansas anymore.
Joseph Jankowski is a contributor for PlanetFreeWill.com. His works have been published by recognizable alternative news sites like GlobalResearch.ca, ActivistPost.com, InfoWars.com and ZeroHedge.com.