The Breakthrough

Geneticist George Church and his team used CRISPR/Cas9 to inactivate 62 porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs) in pig embryos - a record-breaking number in research for organ transplants for humans. Concerns like the rejection of the human immune system and infection of the human transplant recipient from PERVs hindered the research, but with this progress, genetically-modified pigs are now seen as a suitable non-human organ donor.

Preparations for Implantation

Church is now working with biotech company, eGenesis, to make the process as "cheap as possible." The team announced that the set of edited pig embryos is now ready for implantation in mother pigs, which will be housed in isolation from pathogens. One of CRISPR/Cas9's inventors, Jennifer Doudha, is impressed by this progress, and believes that the research can help in synthetic-biology applications. The ultimate goal of this research is to enable pig organs to be transplanted into humans


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