In what could be a path-breaking discovery for treating victims of burn wounds and acid attacks, scientists in China have mixed the genes of pigs and humans to develop a new kind of skin that can be grafted on humans.
The mutant 'skin' is another step in the direction of creating pigs with organs that can be transplanted to humans.
Using animal donors could solve the problem of lack or paucity of organ donors and injecting human genes into these animals could help human bodies and immune systems accept these organs more easily, New Scientist published in a report.
The artificial 'skin' has been developed by a team of Chinese researchers from the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, led by Lijin Zou. The skin was first tested on macaque monkeys and results showed that the hybrid managed to sit intact on the monkey's original skin for 25 days. no additional medication of supplements were needed as the human genes in the skin prevented the host's immune system to throw the foreign object out. Researchers feel that in case of a human host, the hybrid skin might work even better.
Eight specific human genes were added to the pig genes to create the hybrid. The development could help scientists who have been trying to grow artificial organs in order to solve the organ donation crisis.