October 11, 2015
Editing Pig Genomes To Grow Transplant Organs For Humans

CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology was used to disable 62 porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs), which it is feared could cause diseases in humans if pig organs were transplanted into humans.

Geneticist George Church has co-founded a company that is developing genetically modified pigs to grow organs for human transplant.

They did additional editing to reduce the threat of human immune response to pig antigens. Pretty cool stuff.

What ought to be done as well: additional editing to make the pig organs age more slowly. That way the transplanted organs will last longer. Domestic farm pigs only live 6 to 10 years. Those pigs grow to 500+ pounds. The miniature pigs live 15 to 20 years and grow to 32-75 lb. Still rather short-lived. Moderate sized pigs between those two sizes also have life expectancies between those two sizes.

How to make pigs live longer? We need to discover a large number of genetic variants that enable humans to live longer, find corresponding locations in pig genomes, and edit those locations.

We need to gradually reword the pig genome to be much more like the human genome: much longer lasting parts, no immune incompatibilities, no embedded virus dangers. Also, take a lesson from elephants and add more copies of the p53 gene to slash cancer risk.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2015 October 11 10:07 AM 

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