Scientists Growing Human Organs in Pigs in Controversial New Procedure

A possible solution to organ-donor shortages troubles government, animal activists

July 5, 2016 10:00 am
Pig held by man (Getty)
Pig held by man (Getty)

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have created part-pig, part-human embryos. The process is achieved by deleting sections of the DNA of a fertilized pig embryo and replacing them with human stem cells, at which point the embryo is placed in a sow where it can develop. The procedure has so far been used to develop a pancreas, but may have potential uses with other human organs, including the brain.

There are critics of the procedure who express concern that the human stem cells could alter a pig’s brain to make it “human.” Others object from an animal rights standpoint, troubled by the idea of breeding pigs purely for human medical use. The National Institutes of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services currently refuses to fund the research.

To read more about this much-debated breakthrough, click here.

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