62 Gene Edits in Pigs Could Facilitate Pig-Human-Organ Transplant

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pig-to-Human Organ Transplant

A study published in Science reports that scientists from Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Harvard Medical School have successfully edited pig genes in 62 locations that could pave the way for a pig-to-human organ transplant. Scientists for their project used the gene editing system ‘CRISPR-Cas9’ to genetically engineer pig DNA.

CRISPR works like a molecular scissor wherein researchers can ward off unwanted parts of the genome effectively. Researchers during the experiment inactivated retroviruses found in pig genome that inhibited suitable pig organs for transplant in humans.

The project involved the largest number of gene edits at one time using CRISPR technique. With the retroviruses removed, scientists are now hoping for a pig-to-human organ transplant. The organ transplant technique will help a massive number of people who are in dire need of organs.

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