Japan Creates a Pig that Grows Human Organs

Called chimeras, animals that share essentially human biological qualities, such as human organs from the liver to the brain, are under development in Japan as a way of harvesting organs for transplant.

Japan Creates a Pig that Grows Human Organs

What's the Latest Development?


Animals called chimeras, which grow human organs ranging from the liver to the brain, are under development in Japan as a way of harvesting organs for transplant. Bioethicists have already voiced concerns over animals that share uniquely human characteristics, including animals with human sperm or eggs or a non-human primate with a humanized brain. "The Japanese team claims that their technique rules out the possibility of creating a pig with human gonads or brain, but that remains an untested claim. If the technique fails, the boundary will be crossed."

What's the Big Idea?

The UK Academy of Medical Sciences has already weighed in on the issue of animals containing human material in a report published two years ago. The report concluded that most research on chimeras is permitted under existing laws, but it did identify some experiments which should not yet be done. The goal of chimeras, for now, is to create human organs available for transplant. "There are also looming questions of animal welfare. To satisfy the demand for organs would require the sacrifice of about a million pigs a year. Of course, any ethical concerns must be weighed against the potential benefits for human health and life."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at New Scientist


‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

Surprising Science
  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Keep reading Show less

The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle may finally be solved

Meteorologists propose a stunning new explanation for the mysterious events in the Bermuda Triangle.

Surprising Science

One of life's great mysteries, the Bermuda Triangle might have finally found an explanation. This strange region, that lies in the North Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been the presumed cause of dozens and dozens of mind-boggling disappearances of ships and planes.

Keep reading Show less

Astrophysicists find unique "hot Jupiter" planet without clouds

A unique exoplanet without clouds or haze was found by astrophysicists from Harvard and Smithsonian.

Illustration of WASP-62b, the Jupiter-like planet without clouds or haze in its atmosphere.

Credit: M. Weiss/Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
Surprising Science
  • Astronomers from Harvard and Smithsonian find a very rare "hot Jupiter" exoplanet without clouds or haze.
  • Such planets were formed differently from others and offer unique research opportunities.
  • Only one other such exoplanet was found previously.
Keep reading Show less

Lair of giant predator worms from 20 million years ago found

Scientists discover burrows of giant predator worms that lived on the seafloor 20 million years ago.

Bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois)

Credit: Rickard Zerpe / Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Scientists in Taiwan find the lair of giant predator worms that inhabited the seafloor 20 million years ago.
  • The worm is possibly related to the modern bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois).
  • The creatures can reach several meters in length and famously ambush their pray.
Keep reading Show less
Politics & Current Affairs

FOSTA-SESTA: Have controversial sex trafficking acts done more harm than good?

The idea behind the law was simple: make it more difficult for online sex traffickers to find victims.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast