In an effort to tackle the organ donor shortage, researchers in the United States have successfully created part-human, part-pig embryos and implanted them into a sow. Eventually, these animals could act as incubators for human organs, which concerns some ethicists.
As reported by the BBC, researchers from the University of California, Davis, injected human stem cells into pig embryos to create the chimeras (the word “chimera” is derived from mythology, but it’s the scientific term used to describe an animal that has genetic information from more than one species). The human-pig embryos were then implanted into a sow, where they will be allowed to develop for 28 days before the pregnancies are terminated (the full gestation period for pigs is 114 days). The scientists will analyze the fetal tissue to make sure everything is developing normally.