Last updated: July 28, 2019
Topic: Animals
Sample donated:

Every day, about 20 people die from not receiving a vital organ in time. That’s about 7300 people each year. So, how can we make that number decrease? The answer could be in the animal that gives us delicious bacon. The pig. Today I will tell you why pigs would be good organ donors. I will tell you how scientists are already testing their theories through trial experiments. There are many controversial views on whether or not we should use animals for human transplants. So, why pigs? Some organs found in pigs are remarkably similar in size to those found in humans. They’re easily bred, and have several offspring per litter. The demand for organs would be met easily with so many pigs to harvest organs from. When considering the pigs as future organ donors, scientists ran into a problem. Pigs have a retrovirus called PERV. PERV is similar to HIV. So, scientists had to figure out a way to get rid of PERV before they could even consider pig to human transplants. Luckily, they found the answer. They genetically modified DNA in pig cells to remove the PERV retrovirus from it. They then created embryos from those cells, and they implanted them into a normal pig. When the pig gave birth, the piglets were PERV free. This opened a new world of possibilities for scientists. Scientists are already using some parts of the pig to help humans. For example, doctors have already been putting pig heart valves in place of human ones since 1975. Pig insulin has also been used to help people with diabetes. Scientists have even begun testing full organs in primates. In Maryland, the record has been set for the longest living baboon with a pig heart. The baboon lived for almost 3 years. That’s a lot longer than previous baboons have lived with pig hearts. This project is still far off, and some people don’t want it to happen. There are many controversial views on whether or not it is appropriate for pig organs to be harvested for human use. Many people say that this would be ‘playing God’, and that it is unnatural. They claim that humankind has become too revolutionary and that God is now less of ‘the’ creator but now is ‘a’ creator. Some people argue that it isn’t right to take the organs from pigs because we cannot get their consent. Others say it is wrong to kill animals in the first place. On the other hand, lots of people are for this idea. They say that since so many pigs are being killed each day for their meat, why not just take the organs too? They believe it will do much more good for humanity than bad. They say if scientists have the technology and ability to save thousands of lives, surely that would outweigh the ethical issues surrounding the topic. Scientists have made promising discoveries that could help thousands of people receive the precious organs they need to stay alive. PERV free pigs could be great donors since their organs are close in size to those of humans and they are retrovirus free. Scientists have been testing pig organs through trial experiments. Although many people are against the idea of pigs being donors, others are ready to make it a reality. It will still require years of research and testing, but pigs may become the next organ donors for humans.