S.Korea scientists clone pig for human transplants

Apr 22, 2009
SKorean scientists said they have cloned a piglet whose organs were genetically modified to make them more suitable for human transplants. Lead scientist Lim Gio-Bin said the cloned piglet, born on April 3, had been genetically altered to lack the "alpha-gal" gene which triggers tissue rejection.

South Korean scientists said they have cloned a piglet whose organs were genetically modified to make them more suitable for human transplants.

Lead scientist Lim Gio-Bin said the cloned piglet, born on April 3, had been genetically altered to lack the "alpha-gal" gene which triggers tissue rejection.

He said his government-sponsored team, involving scientists from four universities and two research institutes, used of smaller-than-normal pigs to clone "mini-pigs" with modified genes.

Immuno-rejection has been a major hurdle in human organ transplants.

Pig organs are well suited for transplantation but are coated with sugar molecules that trigger acute rejection in human bodies. antibodies attach themselves to such molecules and quickly destroy the transplanted pig organ.

"Our team produced four cloned mini-pigs from about 100 surrogate pigs but only one male named Xeno survived," Lim told AFP, adding his team is now working to produce a female piglet.

"Through mating we will be able to produce many genetically modified mini-pigs whose organs are more suitable for xenotransplantation (transplantation between different species)," he said.

In Xeno, the scientist said his team adopted almost identical technology to that used by US scientists in 2002 to create cloned piglets, in which one copy of the sugar-producing gene was "knocked out."

An organism receives two copies of a gene, one from the mother and one from the father. Scientists have tried to produce pigs lacking both copies, so far unsuccessfully.

"Through our achievement became the second country in the world to clone such piglets after the United States," Lim said.

"I believe our methods are slightly better. Xeno will help us accumulate technology and resources, which can be used to produce many mini-pigs of good quality."

Lim said his team would conduct clinical trials on humans in 2012 and he believed genetically modified mini-pigs could be used commercially around 2017.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: The origin of the language of life

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers develop new model for cystic fibrosis

Sep 25, 2008

In a first, researchers at the University of Iowa and the University of Missouri (MU) have developed a pig model for cystic fibrosis (CF) that appears to closely mimic the disease in human infants. The striking ...

Recommended for you

The origin of the language of life

21 hours ago

The genetic code is the universal language of life. It describes how information is encoded in the genetic material and is the same for all organisms from simple bacteria to animals to humans. However, the ...

Quest to unravel mysteries of our gene network

Dec 18, 2014

There are roughly 27,000 genes in the human body, all but a relative few of them connected through an intricate and complex network that plays a dominant role in shaping our physiological structure and functions.

EU court clears stem cell patenting

Dec 18, 2014

A human egg used to produce stem cells but unable to develop into a viable embryo can be patented, the European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.