Scientists in California have managed to successfully grow human cells within a pig embryo.
The pig chimera, named after the mythological part-goat, part-serpent and part-lion creature, is the first proven example of non-human embryos being developed with a combination of human and animal DNA.
The work is a first step toward using a chimera for “human organ generation.” https://t.co/4E2RGKCyjY— MIT Tech Review (@techreview) January 26, 2017
The researchers injected human stem cells into pig embryos which are then implanted into a sow, or female pig. Human stem cells are developmental stage cells with the ability to develop into any type of tissue.
They are the object of intense and controversial scientific research but offer scientists the tantalising prospect of potentially growing human-compatible organs and other tissues to alleviate global donation shortages.
The process for the researchers at the Salk Institute was not without challenges and their scientific report , published in Cell, a peer-reviewed science journal, revealed the procedure was complicated and offers little assurance human tissues can be grown and harvested from animal embryos.