Friday, October 27, 2017

Scientists Use Gene Editing to Eliminate Viruses in Live Pigs

     Pig organs are compatible with human organs in the regard to organ transplantation. Although, the pig genome contains porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs), that are transferrable to other cells when cultured together. Scientists studied ways to deactivate PERVs from the pig genome to provide a safer basis for pig-to-human organ transplantations. With the help of the gene editing technique, CRISPR, scientists George Church and Dong Liu successfully deactivated PERVs from the pig genome.
     The scientists mapped and identified 25 PERVs in the genome of the pig fibroblast cells. They attempted to deactivate all 25 gene loci with CRISPR. CRISPR allowed for more than 90% PERV deactivation. Scientists added "a concoction of factors related to DNA repair" in addition to CRISPR, and they were able to grow cells with 100% deactivation of PERVs. The scientists implanted the 100% deactivated PERV cells into pig embryos, and the piglets had no signs of PERVs when born.
     The results of this study are especially important to future organ transplantation in humans. With the prominent need for organ transplants, the ability to use pig organs for human organs will definitely benefit medical system.



  1. Cassidy,
    I found this article extremely interesting. I think that the technology we witness on a daily basis is improving and before you know it we will be able to grow human organs. Organ transplantations will improve and t his study is only the beginning. The similarities in the human and pig genome suggest a positive pathway in successfully administering organic transplantations on humans. Great post!

  2. I am so glad to see more usage of CRISPR. Every research regarding CRISPR is very fascinating in my opinion. This new tool is so helpful for the medical field and beneficial for the human race to be specific. Like your article mention, this can play an important role in organic transplantation in humans, since compatible organs are so hard to find and many have lost their lives due to this shortage.

  3. I can see this method advancing immensely and possible human testing within the next 10-20 years. However, I believe that the method should only be tested on humans once more research is done on the different swine-related viruses, bacteria and diseases that the patient will be more susceptible to and a plan of action is put in place on how to treat the possible defects of the treatment