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Human-Pig Chimera Embryo Development and its Potential To Grow Donor Organs

Update Date: Jan 30, 2017 07:20 AM EST

Aiming to provide a potential source for organs that can be used in transplants, scientists develop a human-pig chimera.The breakthrough that can be used to grow human cells in animals was published in the scientific journal Cell.

Independent UK narrated that the genetically-engineered research conducted by the Salk Institute includes the growth of embryos containing pigs and humans. The experiments took decades to become a success and the scientists involved had a hard time creating stem cells in Petri dishes to be able to come up with a fully functional adult cell.

Thus, they decided that growing human cells in animals would be a more productive and feasible approach. Initial experiments started with a rat and mouse chimera by introducing rat cells in mouse embryos to let them grow.

This process proved to be successful. Pancreatic tissues were developed from the rat cells that were injected into the mouse embryo - a breakthrough they achieved back in 2010.

The study's lead investigator, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmont further wanted to know if the possibilities of growing an efficient human organ in pics from human cells are indeed possible. The same technique with the rat mouse chimera was used to combine the human and the pig cells.

National Geographic News revealed that the human-animal hybrid was a success. The process of introducing non-human organisms, making it survive and growing them inside a host animal is indeed possible with pigs.

The project relied on private donors since such experiments are ineligible for public funding in the United States. Criticisms from the public also hindered the development of such organisms that are part human and part animal. The experiment managed to create 186 later-stage chimeric embryos that survived. Each one of them had 100,000 human cells.

In every ten minutes, a person's name is added to the national waiting list for organ transplants. Every day, 22 of these people die without finding the organ that they require. This recent development might be a solution to address the critical shortage of donor organs around the world despite the controversy and the process from which the organs were acquired.

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