Gene-Edited, Virus-Free Piglets Revive Hope For Organ Transplants Between Animals, Humans

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Dr. George Church, a geneticist at Harvard who led the experiments, said the first pig-to-human transplants could occur within two years.

The New York Times: Gene Editing Spurs Hope For Transplanting Pig Organs Into Humans
In a striking advance that helps open the door to organ transplants from animals, researchers have created gene-edited piglets cleansed of viruses that might cause disease in humans. The experiments, reported on Thursday in the journal Science, may make it possible one day to transplant livers, hearts and other organs from pigs into humans, a hope that experts had all but given up. (Kolata, 8/10)

The Washington Post: Scientists Create The First Mutant Ants
Despite what you might’ve seen in 1950s monster movies, it’s difficult to raise mutant ants. For years biologists have altered the genetics of organisms as varied as mice and rice. Mutant fruit flies are a laboratory staple. But ants’ complex life cycle hampered efforts to grow genetically engineered ants — until now. On Thursday, two independent research teams described their work deleting ant genes. Two papers chronicling the first mutant ants appeared in the journal Cell, along with a third study that altered ant behavior using an insect brain hormone. (Guarino, 8/10)

NPR: Public Opinion On Gene Editing Varies Depending On Knowledge, Religion
People generally think that editing human genes might be OK, but most think that there’s a clear line that’s shouldn’t be crossed when it comes to changing traits that would be passed down to new generations, according to a survey reported Thursday. It’s not an abstract question. Earlier this month, gene editing made headlines after scientists in Oregon reported they had successfully corrected a genetic defect in human embryos in the laboratory. (Columbus, 8/10)

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