Piglets gene editing creates organs for humans

Gene editing produces virus-free piglets pushing animals for one step closer to becoming organ donors to humans. Geneticist Luhan Yang, co-founder and CSO eGenesis, Inc. at Cambridge using a molecular device known as CRISPR-Cas9 to remove viruses embedded in DNA and free pigs from innate viruses ready to be harvested into donor organs for humans.

Tinuku Piglets gene editing creates organs for humans

Today patients have been receiving treatment from pancreatic cells and pig skin has not had pig viruses and some researchers think they do not pose a big risk, but the threat of this virus to humans in practice remains to be resolved. The team reported to Science.

Porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs) removal to create piglets that will not spread the virus to a transplant recipient. Luhan Yang and colleagues in 2015 did the same to clean 62 PERVs simultaneously on the growing pig cells in the lab.

Viruses embedded in the pig's genome are damaged and do not make copies of themselves to spread the infection. The researchers removed only 25 viruses that were still able to infect other cells. The team had to overcome some technical hurdles to make pig cells lose PERVs which have normal chromosomes.

Tinuku.com Piglets gene editing creates organs for humans

The researchers sucked the nucleus that contains DNA in the cells and injected it into pig eggs. Technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer is better known as cloning as in Dolly sheep. Embryos made from cloned cells are transplanted into a mother pig to develop into piglets.

Researchers placed 200-300 embryos in each of the 17 pigs. But the technique is not yet efficient, only 37 piglets are born and 15 are still alive. The oldest baby has been around 4 months old. The virus-free pigs could be the starting point of further genetic manipulation to produce pig organs according to human needs.