Pigs Being Used to Grow Human Organs?!

Recent research is testing whether or not human organs can be grown in pigs! Now, this may sound a little wild, however, this challenge to science is really quite interesting.

Let’s delve into this and how exactly these tests work. The process is completed in stages, with the first stage using CRISPR gene editing. This technique takes away the gene that codes for the growth of a specific pig organ. Human stem cells are then injected into the embryo which had the pig organ gene taken away. This is done with hopes that when the embryo is placed into a mother pig, the human organ would grow inside the embryo which could one day be removed and placed on a human transplant.

Now that we know the “how” let’s investigate the why. The American Transplant Foundation reports that 22 people die every day waiting for organ donations and those who remain alive as they wait often suffer deeply. The goal of this research is to save human lives so that the number of people who die while waiting for an organ to save them can be greatly, if not totally, reduced. Also, this project opens the possibility of using the organ recipient’s own stem cells as an injection into the embryo which would then end the need for the patient to take immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of their life, as their body will not reject an organ it sees as its’ own.

Why is anyone opposed? Well, there are a few reasons. There is a risk that the baby pigs could develop human-like brains. So far the tests have been cut off at a certain timeline, therefore, preventing this from happening. Another worry is that the pigs DNA could alter the injected DNA. Lastly, many question whether or not it is ethical to grow pigs solely for the need of an organ for a human.

Personally, I think the gain is bigger than the risk. We know for a fact that people are dying and suffering as they wait for their organs. We do not know for certain what could happen with the pig embryos, but if this new method can save lives, then I am all for it! Farms currently grow pigs to sell them as bacon, sausage and other various forms of meat. So why not use them to grow an organ, save a life, and then put them in a grocery store. Would that in itself cause another ethical question? Would people buy bacon made by a pig that also made a human organ? There are so many hypotheticals, but based on the facts, this could prove to be very beneficial.

Watch the video and read the article here! Leave your opinion in the comments below.

https://ww2.kqed.org/learning/2017/02/15/should-pigs-be-used-to-grow-human-organs/

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9 thoughts on “Pigs Being Used to Grow Human Organs?!

  1. This story is both fascinating and appalling. The intended consequences to save and/or improve a life are heroic but the unintended consequences concern me. Super interesting – can’t wait to see what happens.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The idea of growing human organs inside a pig is something I would never think of! Although there are many ethical questions surrounding this topic, I agree that the pros outweigh the cons if the amount of people on the organ transplant wait list could significantly decrease. Also, I really liked the way you presented this information by giving a good overview of the topic, clearly showing how/why, and then including both the pros and cons. Good job Quinlyn! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I completely agree with what you said. According to the American Transplant Foundation, 22 people die every day waiting for organ donations. If you times that by 365 days a year, that is 8,030 people. These are a lot of lives that could be saved by organ transplant. The human lives saved would be worth the risk. Like what you said, farms already grow pigs for bacon and sausage for human consumption. So why not use these pigs as organ donations as well? According to Organdonor.gov, only 48% humans are signed up as donors and 119,000 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant. 117.6 million pigs are used as food each year and these pigs could take part in saving 119,000 people now. I think this is a great post! Good job!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I totally agree! I believe that since we can kill thousands of pigs just for their meat, we could do so much better by using their organs to save somebody’s life. Imagine how many people’s lives would be saved by this! I think since we have the technology has gotten so advanced we should use it to our advantage! Of course we have to understand the risks of this new research but just like you said in your article, the gain is bigger than the risk! Even though, we are “killing” pigs for our own use, our use is to save millions of peoples lives. I hope that in the future the technology advances so that we do not have to kill these animals but for now we should use this new research to our advantage!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree with the previous comments saying that being that we kill pigs just for meat, we should use their organs to help save lives.

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  6. I found this to be an incredibly interesting study. Having the ability to grow human organs for transplant in the body of pigs could prove huge for many people who fall short of getting one before. It also speaks to just how advanced and necessary the study of stem cells is, in the realm of modern science. I wholeheartedly agree with Kailyn, the fact is that we have used pigs, as well as other animals, for human sustenance for all of human history. Thus, using them to save lives by creating vital human organs seems comparatively ok.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my! This whole human-organ-growing pigs experiment sounds like a sci-fi movie that I’m not quite ready to watch! Harvesting a human’s stem cells in a pig is perhaps something that we need to investigate soundly. I wouldn’t want to indirectly create a human-piglet baby out of this. And do we really need talking pig in real life as opposed to a Disney flick. Every single living thing has a beginning and end, an alpha and omega. It’s called a life-cycle. Unfortunately, some life-cycles are shorter than others which called natural selection. Darwin, remember him!

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