Organ transplantation : piglet GMOS raises new hopes

Health 16 August, 2017


Published the 12.08.2017 at 17h06
Update the 13.08.2017 at 10h44


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The pigs are going to save us. A team of international science is able to genetically modify the piglets so that their organs are more compatible for transplants in humans. The work published in the journal Science and represent a step forward in size.

In fact, pigs are studied for their biocompatibility with the human. In previous work, researchers have used these animals for transplanting heart valves and pancreas.


But the hopes generated by these advances remain hampered by a major risk. Indeed, xenotransplantation, name these transplants of animal organs on humans, involve the risk of transmission of a virus which it is feared that it could infect humans.

However, the team of geneticists has successfully used the method, CRISPR-Cas9 in order to remove the genes responsible for these viruses in the DNA porcine, prior to the development of the embryos. Thus, 37 piglets are born with organs potentially suitable for a transplant on the man. Pig organs ” can reach an ideal size for humans “, add the authors.

Combat the shortage of organs

But if this viral risk is ruled out, “the pigs will need other modifications for that the organs are not rejected by the human immune system, or do not cause other damage’, warn scientists.

Xenotransplantation could offer solutions to the shortage of donor organs. In France, nearly 50,000 people are living with a transplanted organ ; there is a lack 12 000 grafts each year in order to meet the demand.