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Researchers at the University of California, Davis combined human stem cells and pig DNA and allowed the embryos to mature for 28 days, before terminating the experiment and analysing the tissue.
They believe the animals, which if they had been carried to term would have developed a human internal organ, but would have looked and behaved like any other pig. The goal is that in the future, similar animals could potentially act as a ready source of organs for life-saving transplants.
Concerns have been raised about whether the transplantation of an organ from an animal into a human could risk introducing animal viruses into a patient. Additionally, the endeavour cited fears that the presence of human cells could affect the animal’s brain and behaviour, potentially making it more human.
Peter Stevenson, from Compassion in World Farming, told the BBC’s Panorama programme: “I’m nervous about opening up a new source of animal suffering. Let’s first get many more people to donate organs.”
Read full, original post: Scientists attempting to harvest human organs in pigs create human-pig embryo