A transplant organ grown inside a pig – would you rather die?

Selection_065

via BBC Weekend News

Pig-human embryos have been created in a dramatic bid to solve the organ transplant shortage.

Scientists have successfully combined human stem cells and pig DNA – with the aim of growing a human organ inside a pig.

But critics say the development of such hybrids is ‘offensive to human dignity’.

The ‘chimera’ embryos have been implanted in living sows and allowed to grow for 28 days before being tested and destroyed.

The idea is that if such an embryo matured inside an adult pig, the foetus would have an organ inside made from human cells. This could then be harvested and transplanted into a patient.

Experts are bitterly divided over the ethical implications of the breakthrough and the boundaries of genetic research. […]

Professor Walter Low of the University of Minnesota, which is researching a similar project, said pigs were an ideal ‘biological incubator’, adding: ‘The organ would be an exact genetic copy of your liver [for example] but a much younger and healthier version and you would not need to take immunosuppressive drugs which carry side-effects.’

Professor Low admitted that human cells spreading to the brain was a concerning prospect, but he added: ‘With every organ we will look at what’s happening in the brain and if we find that it’s too human-like, then we won’t let those foetuses be born.’

All sorts of ethical issues crop up here.   Such as, a pig that somehow becomes more human or even self aware due to human DNA combining with it.

Or, if you have a pig transplant, does that make you less human?

If you could survive with a pig part, instead of dying, would you accept it?   If not, why not?

 

– BBC, Daily Mail


Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to Podcasts?
  • Access to Political Polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

41%