On to a longevity item: The goal, of course, is to grow human tissues and organs inside swine; this is just one step in that direction. Excerpt:
Scientists have published the first peer-reviewed account of creating pig–human hybrid fetuses, a step toward growing animals with organs that are suitable for transplantation into humans.
The team that made these chimaeras also reports the creation of mouse–rat and human–cow hybrids on 26 January in Cell1. Such modified animals could provide researchers with new models for testing drugs and understanding early human development.
To create chimaeras, scientists generally inject pluripotent stem cells — which can become any type of organ — from one species into the early embryo of a second species. In theory, the foreign cells should differentiate and spread throughout the body, but in practice, producing viable hybrid embryos has proven difficult.
Algernop Krieger was not available for comment.
There’s been a lot of speculation about human longevity in recent years, and this might be a step in that direction; one way to achieve longevity would be the ability to replace organs with spares as needed. If the research community can figure out how to produce organs using the patient’s own stem cells, that would be even better; no rejection issues. But growing them in a pig would be better than no spare parts at all.
And, one would hope, we won’t have any The Island-type scenarios.
Allow me, by the way, to add my enthusiastic support for the concept of longevity. I’m pretty sure I could live a thousand years and never manage to fulfill my entire bucket list.