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How turning off viruses in piglets could make their organs safer for people

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In an effort to make pig organs safer for humans, scientists have successfully edited the animal’s genome to deactivate viruses that could be harmful to people. The research is an important step forward in the quest to make pig organs safe for transplantation — a dream that has kept scientists busy for decades and has the potential to save thousands of lives.

The researchers, including famous Harvard geneticist George Church, used the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 and the same technology used to clone Dolly the sheep to create healthy piglets that can’t transmit harmful viruses. This doesn’t mean that pig organs are ready for humans just yet, but the study, published today in Science, raises hopes that the technology is finally…

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