I, for one, welcome our new pig-human chimera masters

Pigs grown from fetuses into which human stem cells were injected have surprised scientists by having cells in which the DNA from the two species is mixed at the most intimate level. [...] The adult pigs that had received human stem cells as fetuses were found to have pig cells, human cells and the hybrid cells in their blood and organs. The researchers found that about 60 per cent of the animals' non-pig cells were hybrids, with the remainder being fully human. [...]

Importantly, the team also found that porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV), which is present in almost all pigs, was also present in the hybrid cells. Previous laboratory work has shown that while PERVs in pig cells cannot infect human cells, those in hybrid cells can. The discovery therefore suggests a serious potential problem for xenotransplantation. [...]

In Platt's experiments, the human stem cells were injected into the pig fetuses about a third of the way through gestation. The injections must be given after the body plan of the fetus has developed, but before the immune system is active. The former ensures the animals look like normal pigs and sheep. The latter prevents the human stem cells being rejected.

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12 Responses:

  1. brad says:

    And to think: we killed all those human fetuses for nothing!

  2. g_na says:

    I would make some joke about the "PERV" virus, but I can't think of one.

  3. scosol says:

    heh- it sounds like the results would have been more "interesting" (visually at least) if they had implanted them earlier...

  4. bitpuddle says:

    Oh, yea. That is just bound to go wrong in some spectacular way.

  5. 1. Scientists are turning pigs into people, ala Animal Farm.

    2. Genetic research goes against right-wing ideals.

    3. Therefore, scientists are commies!

  6. coldacid says:

    I'd love to see how they'd turn out if the human stem cells were injected before the body plan is developed.

  7. majikpig says:

    Bow down before me, human!

  8. ilgranpoobah says:

    What bothers me is the Hybrid/xenotransplantation thing. Most people don't know that there are certain diseases specific only to certain animals, When we have enough hybrid or bridge organisms all the pathogenic diseases (and mybe some genetic) will evantually work thier way into the Fully HUMAN population