Pigs: Useful for Something Other Than Bacon Essay

Pigs: Useful for Something Other Than Bacon Essay

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There are more then 3500 Canadians on a waiting list for an organ transplant. Of that 3500 more then 1500 of them die each year because they do not get the organ (www.kincanada.ca). There is such a high demand in organs that scientist around the globe have been trying to find a way that will help diminish the rate. Scientist from Britain, Korea, United States and other countries around the world been looking into using the organs from genetically modified pigs for human organ transplant. Can pigs be genetically modified so their organs will be accepted by the human body?

Modified pigs have to hide their origin from the human immune system (www.gate2biotech.com). Pig organs are roughly the same size as human organs and work roughly the same way. Lord Winston and his colleagues from Imperial College in London, have an idea that if the pig has 6 human genes that it will lower the chance that the organ will be rejected by the human body (www.naturalnews.com). The pig organs are coated with a sugar molecule, Alpha Galactose, that has a small reaction rate in humans. Human antibodies attach themselves to the sugar molecule and would quickly destroy the newly transplanted pig organ (www.nationalgeographics.com).

Making pig organs suitable for humans is a giant task; a task that needs a goal. Lei Xiao, of the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, who led their research explains that they modified pigs stem cells would be useful because the pigs organs are very similar to human organs. They would use the stem cells of an embryo and adjust the immune genes from the human to make the pig organ compatible to the human immune system. They would then provide the organs available to patients and the organs will not be rej...

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.... CNN World 23 Mar 2011 from cnnworld.tv http://www.cncworld.tv/news/v_show/13473_Pig_organs_for_humans_.shtml

“Selective Breeding”. Biology Online 15 Aug 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2011 from biologyonline.org http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Selective_Breeding

Trivedi, Bijal P. “Cloned Pigs modified for Use in Human Transplants”. National Geographic News 3 Jan 2002. Retrieved 6 April 2011 from nationalgeographic.com

Wilcox, Sara “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in Xenotransplantation” Biology Teach 3 Apr 2003. Retrieved 6 April 2011 from bioteach,ubc.ca http://www.bioteach.ubc.ca/Journal/V01I01/4952xenotransplant.pdf

“Xenotransplantaion”. Heath Canada 17 Jan 2007. Retrieved 6 April 200 from hc-sg.gc.ca http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/sr-sr/biotech/about-apropos/xeno-eng.php

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