News: Sheep Embryos – The Future of Organ Transplants

At a recent American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Austin, Texas, scientists have proven that we are now closer to growing artificial human organs than ever before. An ongoing study has shown it is possible to grow human stem cells in an early stage sheep embryo for a short period of time. With this development, scientists are anticipating that it will soon be possible to create human organs specific to transplant recipients, therefore eliminating the danger of organ rejection.

The human-sheep hybrid is created by adding adult human stem cells to an edited sheep embryo that has had the genetic code for the pancreas taken out. It is expected that human stem cells will adapt to fill out the missing code. Under the study, the embryo containing both species’ cells was only permitted to develop over 7 days before termination. Further evidence may be demonstrated should the experiment receive ethical approval for extension over a longer period.