Thursday, June 04, 2009

Speaking of pigs

Could they have a role in the ongoing stem cell debate?

From the BBC:

Chinese scientists have given cells from adult pigs the ability to turn into any tissue in the body, just like embryonic stem cells.

They hope the breakthrough could aid research into human disease, and the breeding of animals for organ transplants for humans.

It may also enable the development of pigs that are resistant to diseases such as swine flu.

The study appears online in the Journal of Molecular Cell Biology.

This breakthrough to produce pig stem cells potentially reinvigorates the quest to grow humanised pig organs

Lead researcher Dr Lei Xiao, of the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, said many other attempts had been made to transform adult cells from animals such as pigs into "pluripotent" stem cells, but they had failed.

He said: "Therefore, it is entirely new, very important and has a number of applications for both human and animal health."

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