As it turns out the future is now. From National Geographic:
In a remarkable—if likely controversial—feat, scientists announced today that they have created the first successful human-animal hybrids. The project proves that human cells can be introduced into a non-human organism, survive, and even grow inside a host animal, in this case, pigs.
This biomedical advance has long been a dream and a quandary for scientists hoping to address a critical shortage of donor organs.
I came across this article last week about the successful creation of a human “chimera,” which is, “an organism that contains cells from two different species,” and in this case cells from a human and pig.
As Nat Geo points out, it’s already been done with mice and rats:
Other scientists had already figured out how to grow the pancreatic tissue of a rat inside a mouse. On Wednesday, that team announced that mouse pancreases grown inside rats successfully treated diabetes when parts of the healthy organs were transplanted into diseased mice.
This is pretty wild stuff. The process of creating chimeras is extremely complex and involves science on the cutting edge (I’ll leave that up to you to research). It’s also quite controversial as the article says, and since people love to give their opinions on these kinds of things, I’d love to throw my hat in the ring.
The possibilities here are limitless, and whether or not we have pig-humans running around remains to be seen.
For the record… I’m also on team “create a pig-bird” so we can stick it to the people who overuse the “when pigs fly” cliché. Science the sh*t out of that one, please.
I think this is a great move, assuming we don’t find ourselves dealing with a zombie apocalypse as a result, because that’s a very real possibility here.
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