Small pigs could be used in human organ donation in the future. Such is the discovery of South-Korean scientists who claim to have developed a more effective method of cloning pigs, whose organs would be used for humans as illustrated in an article in German magazine Der Spiegel.
This new method is based on the use of stem cells from bone marrow which scientists from the National Institute of Animal Science in South Korea have developed.
Use of these stem cells has quadrupled the success rate of other cloning methods. Previous attempts to clone piglets with normal body cells led to only 5% survival of the cloned embryos.
The cloned pigs are smaller than normal pigs and weigh at most 60 to 80kg. Their organs are around the same size as those of humans.
According to Seong Hwan-Hoo of the National Institute, this new technology will be useful to cultivate mini-pigs with modified genes, whose organs will not be refused as often when transplanted in humans.
South-Korean genetic engineers have a bad reputation since Hwang Woo-Suk’s cloning success was proven to have been falsified. Hwang, who is currently on trial for fraud and a number of other charges had claimed to have cloned human stem cells.