Scientists create human-pig embryos

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Jenny Li, Staff writer

Scientists have announced that they have created the first successful human-animal hybrids. The success has finally come through of growing human organs within animal bodies. As a result, it allows doctors to provide transplantable hearts, lungs, and other organs to their patients.

To achieve this accomplishment, scientists used a vast amount of methods by using stem cell technologies. Integrating cells from human and animal species is proving difficult, and developing human organs remains at a considerable distance in the future.

Dr. Jun Wu, a staff scientist in the gene expression laboratory at the Salk Institution, speaks out on CNN about how complex the process is.

“Species evolve independently, and many factors dictating the developmental programs might have diverged, which makes it difficult to blend cells from one species to a developing embryo from another,” Wu said.

Instead of any other animal, pigs were utilized because both the size and development time for their organs are very similar to humans.

Sophomore Shreyah Prasad feels like this is an important step in the progress toward future uses in the medical field.

“Imagine all the lives that could be saved from the use of human-pig embryos once the techniques are refined,” Prasad said. “From there, many improvements in the hospital workforce can be made.”

While Prasad finds the human-pig embryo a wonderful next step, junior Jiwon Bae believes that the success can be a bit fearful.

“It’s odd to think that since we are implanting our own cells into animals, aren’t the animals turning into a human-like thing, and therefore a thing with human rights?” Bae asks.

There are currently many moral debates that spark up much controversy. Although there is much controversy revolving around the success of developing the human-pig embryo, the research will continue in a more positive direction.