A team of researchers at University of California (UC), Davis are making efforts to successfully develop human organs within pigs. Pig embryos have been infused with human stem cells to try and grow human-pig embryos called chimeras. The purpose of this experiment is to combat the problem of scarcity of organ transplant.
The researchers revealed that while the modified pigs will be similar to normal pigs in appearance and behavior, the only difference will be one organ of the pig being created with human cells. The team will allow a time period of 28 days for the human-pig chimeric embryos to grow in the implants and subsequently, the pregnancies will be terminated to extract the tissue for investigation.
The chimeric embryos will be developed in two phases, with the first stage using a technology called GRISPR gene editing, which is focused towards eradicating DNA from a pig embryo that has been newly-fertilized. This allows the foetus so-developed to develop pancreas. This results in the creation of a genetic niche or void. The second phase is the infusion of human induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cells within the embryo.
The iPS cells were extracted from adult cells and are subsequently trailed back to develop into stem cells, with capability of growing into any tissue in the body. The researchers are expecting genetic niche in the pig embryo to benefit the human stem cells. The team at UC Davis also hopes that the concluding foetus will be capable of developing into human pancreas. Continue reading
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