By Earnest Jones   |  01-28-2017   News
Photo credit: Salk Institute

The laboratory at the Salk Institute in the United States has created the world’s first pig human hybrid. Scientists state that it’s the first ever successful human-animal hybrid experiment that has proved that human cells can thrive inside of an animal host. In a report issued by the Nationalgeographic.com, this biomedical advance has long been a dream and a quandary for scientists who hope to address a critical shortage of donor organs. It’s unfortunate that every ten minutes a person is added to the national waiting list for organ transplants and every day, 22 people on the same list die due to lack of the needed organs. If it was possible to grow a custom organ inside an animal, many lives would be saved.

This creation is one step closer to reality after an international team of researchers led by the Salk Institute reported in the journal cell that it had created what is known scientifically as a chimera: an organ that contains cells from two different species. This is a very astounding breakthrough since human-animal chimeras have always been beyond reach. However, such experiments are currently ineligible for public funding in the United States. Consequently, the Salk team relied on private donors for the chimera project.

In a statement made by the lead study author, Jun Wu of the Salk Institute, people need only look to mythical chimeras like the human-bird hybrids known as angels for a different perspective. As he added that in ancient civilizations, chimeras were associated with God and that our ancestors thought the chimeric form can guard humans. Wu also expresses his teams hopes to see human-animal hybrids guarding humans in future.

The chimera can be made in two ways, one of them being to introduce the organs of one animal into another, it’s a risky proposition since the host’s immune system may cause the organ to be rejected. Alternatively, scientists can begin at the embryonic level and introduce one animal’s cells into the embryo of another and let them grow together into a hybrid. This might sound weird ,but it’s a creative way to solve a number of vexing biological problems that accompany lab-grown organs.

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