This post is part of KQED’s Do Now U project. Do Now U is a biweekly activity for students and the public to engage and respond to current issues using social media. Do Now U aims to build civic engagement and digital literacy for learners of all ages. This post was written by Dani Schroeder, Gabrielle Kern and Bradley Mullings, students in Kimberly Vogt’s “Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis for Biologists” class at Marian University.


Featured Media Resource
VIDEO: BBC News

Could Pigs Be Used to Grow Human Organs for Transplant?
Get an overview of the use of pigs as biological incubators for human organs.


Do Now U

Should pigs be used to grow human organs for people who need transplants? Why or why not? #DoNowUPigs


How to Do Now

To respond to the Do Now U, you can comment below or post your response on Twitter. Just be sure to include #DoNowUPigs and @KQEDedspace in your posts.

You can also record a video response on Flipgrid. (Learn how to use Flipgrid here.)


Learn More About Growing Human Organs in Pigs

Recently, research has begun into the use of pigs to grow human organs. This is done in two stages. The first stage uses a technique known as CRISPR gene editing, which removes the gene necessary to grow a specific organ in a pig embryo. In stage two, human stem cells (which are capable of developing the respective human organ) are injected into the pig embryo. The embryo is then implanted into a sow. The idea is that the human organ would grow inside the embryo. If this research is successful, it would mean that human organs could be grown inside of live pigs for future harvest and organ donation. This research could lead to an increase in the accessibility of organs required for transplant. However, there is also quite a bit of controversy surrounding the ethics of using pigs as biological incubators for human organs.

There are multiple reasons why people support the idea of growing human organs in pigs. According to the American Transplant Foundation, 22 people die everyday waiting for organ donations. People could face a time period of anywhere from four months to five years waiting for a vital organ. During the wait, many people have to face a reduced quality of life due to worsening symptoms, while still others face death. Supporters of the research contend that it is worth the risks as long as human lives could be saved. Growing organs using pigs as biological incubators would make a greater number of organs more readily available for harvesting, therefore benefiting those waiting for vital organ donations. Using this method, there is the potential to grow human organs in a shorter time frame than occurs in humans, due to the shorter gestational period of pigs.  Another benefit would be the possibility for customization. With current methods of transplantation, after patients receive a donated organ, they spend the rest of their lives taking immune suppressing drugs so that their bodies won’t reject the organ. This new research method, however, could use stem cells from the future organ recipient in the pig embryo, which could create an organ that would be a better match than what is achievable with traditional transplant methods. The research into this field of possibilities is promising, however it is still a ways off from becoming reality.

There are technical and ethical reasons why people may be opposed to growing human organs in pigs.  One risk includes the possibility of the pig fetuses developing more human-like brains due to the stem cells inserted into the fetuses. Scientists conducting the research have aborted the embryos after three to four weeks, preventing the possibility of creating viable pigs with human-like traits. Even with the ability to customize organs using the recipient’s own cells, what if during the growth period the organ is somewhat altered because of the pig’s DNA? Additionally, there are ethical concerns to using pigs as biological incubators for human organs. These pigs would be bred for the sole purpose of growing organs before being killed to harvest the organs for donation. This model warrants the consideration of the biological incubator business growing into the next generation of factory farms. Additionally, if this new research leads to success in practice, some fear that this could eventually lead to growing human fetuses with the intent of harvesting their organs.

This  new technique could be very beneficial to the thousands of people on organ transplant lists waiting for life-saving operations, but how ethical is this practice?  What do you think? Should pigs be used as biological incubators to grow human organs?


More Resources

Article: National Geographic
Human-Pig Hybrid Created in the Lab—Here Are the Facts
Get more background information on the research surrounding human-pig hybrids/chimeras for growing human organs.

Video: Wellcome Trust
What Is Gene Editing and How Does It Work?
Learn the basics of the CRISPR gene-editing technique, and consider the pros and cons of this technology for many uses.

Notice: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
NIH Research Involving Introduction of Human Pluripotent Cells into Non-Human Vertebrate Animal Pre-Gastrulation Embryos
Read a notice from the NIH that states it will not currently fund research in which human stem cells are injected into non-human embryos.


Find best practices for using Do Now, using Twitter for teaching, and using other digital tools.


KQED Do Now U is a biweekly activity in collaboration with SENCER. SENCER is a community of transformation that consists of educators and administrators in the higher and informal education sectors. SENCER aims to create an intelligent, educated, and empowered citizenry through advancing knowledge in the STEM fields and beyond. SENCER courses show students the direct connections between subject content and the real world issues they care about, and invite students to use these connections to solve today’s most pressing problems.

  • Aidan Washer

    Science has progressed to such a wonderful stage! This will help to shrink the evergrowing demands for transplant. I am only curious as to how scientists will match pigs to patients based on size, blood type, etc. #Baconinandastheheart

  • Paige Swan

    I’ve never heard of this before, very interesting topic. It’s great to see both sides of the issue.

  • Tuong Thai

    Many will ask is it really ethical to use animals as a resource for organ harvesting, but how different is this from harvesting 7.7 billion land animals per year for food?

  • Bridgette Antolin

    I like how you presented both sides of the topic with sources backing them up. I think this is a growing interest and is very fascinating to read about.

  • Jaskarnjit Sandhu

    Its a very interesting concept. I would just like to know is it even possible for pigs to develop human-like traits?

  • Kelsey Bridewell

    This is a very controversial topic, difficult to take a specific stance on it. But I believe that it would be very beneficial to explore the opportunities of this new medical advancement. It would save so many lives every year, let alone every day if this was a viable medical practice. I don’t see any harm of this opportunity at it’s very basic stage currently, but eventually, I can see this becoming a problem as scientist might one day research the opportunity to grow human fetuses and harvest their organs. This reminds of a book I was required to read in high school, The House of the Scorpion. The whole book revolved around the ethics behind the main characters existence, whom was harvested (cloned), instead of born. He was made to help an old, very wealthy man live for a very long time. The child was allowed to live longer than most of the other clones before him and had made friends at that point. When he had people that actually cared for him it became a question of ethics to use this child’s organs to delay the inevitable future of the old man. Is this right? I’m not sure that it is. We can’t care for pigs the way humans care for each other, but I think if this medical practice were to be a real thing, there would need to be guidelines laid out for humane and caring treatment of the animals. #DoNowUPigs #MyCMSTArgs

    • Estrella Perez

      I completely agree with you, its hard to put our human race in line with the animal race. This is a controversial topic we deal everyday with animal experimentation and if it is appropriate which many people disagree. I would want to see more information on the medical guidelines as well and see what advances and lives it can save. This new discoveries can take us to new advantages. The thing is looking what is ethically correct saving a human or a pig and many people will choose a human.

    • Ciana Bell

      Hi Kelsey, I agree with you on many aspects of your post. I think that if we can find a way to medically grow human organs in pigs and save many lives than we need to take the chance and further research the topic. I think that it would be completely unethical if we ignored the possibility of human organ growth in pigs. With that I completely agree with you that there needs to be policies and regulations in place to ensure that the scientist and medical professionals do not over step or venture outside of the research they are conducting. I hope that this research can continue and scientists find safe ways to grow human organs in pigs to save lives of individuals. #DoNowUPigs #MyCMSTArgs

  • Hillary Clintub

    Every living species on earth tries its best to bend nature to its own advantage. Some are prey and others are predators. And some predators are alpha predators in their own unique ecosystems. It’s simply a part of survival. Those that don’t use nature go extinct sooner rather than later. Nature winds up using them.

  • Lauren Espique

    This is a very interesting topic. However, I still don’t see this happening for quite a few years. There just seems to be too much controversy regarding the ethics of using a pig as an organ incubator, and this doesn’t even include how unsure the science behind it is. There still has to be a lot of major advancements before something like this becomes official.

    • Grace Gerberich

      I very much do agree with your points, I feel like after years of discussion and back and forth points from each side, they will finally decide on a plan of action to take of the matter whether it is good or bad. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUPigs

  • Estrella Perez

    This topic can be seen positivie and negative. Positive in the way that it can save millions of lives, the organs they are developing can be more of a genetic match to have a higher chance for their patient to keep their organs, and many organs can be developed since gestation of pigs are shorter compared to humans, This can be beneficial in the medical field and a huge progress. The controversial part is having pigs have inserted genetics of humans and having them develope it. I haven’t heard of pigs being harmed during the process but we would need a large portion of pigs to inseminate certain genetics of people to give them neccessary organs. Which brings up the point are pigs okay with having this inserted and experimented on but they haveno freedom of speech. I do no want to use animals for greed or to my advatage but it is a great discovery to save lives. There is a problem with pigs becoming smarter than they already are. We should try and keep testing but if the experiments get out of hand then we should stop.
    #DoNowUPigs #MyCMSTArgs

    • Mackenna Neal

      I agree with your point on animal rights. If scientist decide to go further with this research, pigs are going to be produced like cars. Clean and up to code living standards will be forgotten and that could indirectly cause them to become sick and ultimately spreading that disease to the human body their organ enters. There are too many ‘What ifs’ in this idea still for it to become a credible idea.
      #MyCMSTArgs

  • Ciana Bell

    I am aware that this is a very controversial topic within the medical field and also within ourselves; however I do feel that it is something that should be further explored. If we can use pigs to successfully grow human organs, hundreds of individuals could be saved from organ failure. I do realize that there are a number of “what if” questions that must be asked while conducting these experiments between pigs and humans and the only way to find the answer is to follow through with the experiment itself. With this being said, I think that using pigs to grow human organs should be closely monitored by our government to ensure that scientist do not overstep any boundaries. Lastly, by using pigs as human organ donors, strict rules and regulations would need to be in place to ensure that there is no animal cruelty or mistreatment among trial patients. I have attached further information into the possibility of growing human organs in pigs. #DoNowUPigs #MyCMSTArgs http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0093691X16300954

    • Yasmin Gonzalez

      I see where you’re coming from and I agree in the sense that it could be beneficial in saving lives but what if it just causes more harm than good in the end. We’re risking pigs possibly gaining human characteristics, we don’t know what this could lead to and we also don’t know if the organs will be viable in the end so this might just end up causing more problems instead of fixing any. Also just as there is a lot of people against killing animals for consumption purposes people will also have a problem with the use and killing of pigs to our gain regardless of what the cause is. Even if regulations are placed, if some lines need to be crossed in order to find out if this will work there will be no point in it because they won’t be able to do it legally. #DoNowUPigs #MyCMSTArgs

  • Mackenna Neal

    I believe that in this situation of using pigs to harvest human organs the cons out weigh the pros. Yes it would be incredible to have a way to grow human organs and save more lives, but I do not think pigs are the answer. One very important piece of information that the author left out is the religious view of pigs. Muslims, about 1.6 billion people worldwide, do not eat pork. Also, Jewish people, roughly 16 million people worldwide, do not eat pork. If these people do not believe in eating pigs, it is debatable whether or not they will allow pig harvested organs inside of their bodies. We see today pig heart valves being used in humans today, but for many people around the world it may be more than just the issue to live or die. It could be the issue to live with, animal deemed uneatable by their religion, in their body for the rest of their lives. For many Americans who grew up in Christian homes, 77% of Americans (Gallup Polls), we often to forget about other beliefs and don’t take them into consideration. Out of the 22 people who die everyday from not receiving an organ, think about how many of those people wouldn’t accept a pig organ because of their religion. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamasurgery/fullarticle/599037

    • Owen Smith

      I agree with you that the cons most likely outweighs the pros in this particular situation. I also thought that the perspective you provided regarding religious conflict to this practice was very insightful. This was something that I would never have thought of, but could definitely provide another reason for certain individuals to avoid these transplanted organs. There are a lot of people who would also simply feel uncomfortable with the idea, religious or not. While I don’t necessarily believe that this is the solution to the problem, I do think that this shows that medicine is improving, and help will soon be provided to those who need it.
      #DoNowUPigs #MyCMSTArgs

  • Yasmin Gonzalez

    I think that there is too many things that we don’t know in using pigs to harvest human organs that could possibly lead to more harm then good. I see how this could be a great step in helping all those in need of organs as we all know that the list is very, very long. Whether this is the way is the big question, maybe its a step forward in the right direction but I don’t think this is the way to do it. At first I thought it was very unethical of us to just use pigs to our advantage but if we do it for food why wouldn’t we do it to save lives? I know there is a lot of organizations and people against killing pigs to eat them but none the less we do it. The other issue is that we don’t know how putting human cells into the pig can affect them overall, like the risk of them having human characteristics, it’s unnatural and we don’t know what that could eventually lead to. While reading an article on sciencemag.org it gave a reality check that this process isn’t going to happen without hurdles. This is because few human cells are surviving in the organ so it wouldn’t be viable for human transplant. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/human-organs-grown-pigs-not-so-fast I don’t think that we should use pigs to harvest organs, I think there is to many risks that we already know of and possibly some we know nothing about. Using pig embryos as research for this possibility seems like a start to finding a way to harvest human organs but I think that way needs to ultimately exclude pigs. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUPigs

    • Joshua Lewis

      You make some really great points here, and I agree with your stance on using pig embryos for human organ research. Saving human lives by increasing the number of organ donations is crucial to saving more human lives, and we must make that effort but not with animal suffering. Also, there are so many unknowns at the forefront of this idea, and the idea of genetically modifying human-animal embryos has been around for decades and you’re argument that we do not know how or what mixing human-animal characteristics will eventually lead to is right on. I think first, lets get a lot more people to donate organs because these scientist need to thoroughly think this idea out before changing the way human’s receive organ donations. #DoNowUPigs #MyCMSTArgs

  • Joshua Lewis

    Using this method to incubate human organs inside pigs, for the purposes of saving human lives is admirable, however I disagree with the argument on a few different points. First, the idea of mixing different animal species and human-animal species has been around for decades and pigs are not humans, so producing them for the sole purpose of killing them in the end, wastes the earths resources and pigs add up. Saving human lives by increasing the number of organ donations is crucial to saving more human lives, and we must make that effort. Unfortunately, I do not agree with the use of pigs in this example, or any other animal for producing human parts, because major unknowns are at the forefront of this idea. The scientist, do not have complete conducting control over their research, leaving major risks that could lead a human-animal organ to be rejected by a human. Although I think this research is important, https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jun/05/organ-research-scientists-combine-human-stem-cells-and-pig-dna agree’s that many concerns have been raised for good reason about whether the actual transplantation of an organ from an animal into a human and risk introducing animal viruses to the patient. Similarly, Peter Stevenson, from Compassion in World Farming, told the BBC’s Panorama program “I’m nervous about opening up a new source of animal suffering. Let’s first get many more people to donate organs”. This approach, is the one I agree with on its ethics, due to not increasing the numbers of pigs killed yearly, and if there’s a shortage of donations after that, than we can consider using pigs. Until that point, I would like to see this type of research practice more ethical concepts, because gene editing would become rapidly available on demand, superior to human donor organs and the scientists need to think that out thoroughly. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUPigs

    • Hillary Clintub

      That’s why we use liberals to taste those strange red berries first.

    • gen

      I think you brought up a great concept that relates really well with the topic and supports your thoughts very well.

  • gen

    I think it absolutely insanity what we can do now in days as technology and scientific discoveries have come along way, but I personally do not think this is a good idea. Them

    • Melanie Funk

      I completely agree with you! Humans are not the only animals on this Earth and we shouldn’t risk their lives and them becoming extinct when we could find alternative options. WE shouldn’t have to destroy another animals life just to benefit ours. We are not the center of the world.

  • Grace Gerberich

    I think that there is too many things that we don’t know in using pigs to harvest human organs that could possibly lead to more harm then good. I see how this could be a great step in helping all those in need of organs as we all know that the list is very, very long. I think that using pigs to grow human organs should be closely monitored by our government to ensure that scientist do not overstep any boundaries. With that being sad, maybe its a step forward in the right direction but I don’t think this is the way to do it. he idea of mixing different animal species and human-animal species has been around for decades and pigs are not humans, so producing them for the sole purpose of killing them in the end, wastes the earths resources and pigs add up. Saving human lives by increasing the number of organ donations is crucial to saving more human lives, and we must make that effort. There are so much more controversy to the proposition that people will always continue to go back and forth about. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUPigs

    • Kelsey Bridewell

      I agree Grace! I think the fact that there is so much controversy around the subject may be grounds that we just shouldn’t pursue this option. Of course it would be great to help those in need of organ transplants, but unfortunately like every other living being on this planet we only have one life! Why should humans live at the expense of other living creatures..? We have a duty to respect our planet Earth and all the other organisms that live here too! I think it would be amazing to use the research done with pigs thus far and look into other options. I believe this new medical practice could be something amazing, but more research should be done on the subject and there should be exploration still of other viable “incubators” instead of pigs. #DoNowUPigs #MyCMSTArgs

  • Owen Smith

    This topic is very controversial, and contains a lot of uncertain science and unexplored possibilities. The possible advantages of growing human organs within live pigs is incredible, opening doors to saving millions of lives. With such a massive upside it may seem hard to deny this practice’s immediate integration into medical disciplines. However, there is also a huge lists of cons to cancel out these pros, which makes this a very important and interesting issue. Critics worry that, among other things, this could lead to animal abuse, wrongly developed organs, and a lack of morality. Further, there is a concern that this will desensitize us and will lead to even more extreme versions of this scenario. I personally have a hard time developing a stance on this issue, because I can see both the incredible upside, and the grievous downsides that it presents. If this new science could be implemented in an effective, and humane way, without devaluing the lives of the swine subjects, then it could be one of the most important and revolutionary advances in the history of medicine. However, with all of the uncertainties and question marks surrounding these methods, I have a hard time supporting this on a moral level.
    #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUPigs
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/01/human-pig-hybrid-embryo-chimera-organs-health-science/

  • Melanie Funk

    I do not agree with using pigs in this manner. The process of using pigs as incubators for human organs is ridiculous and is in no way benefiting the pigs. Their whole lives are practically to benefit us and when we’re done with them, we just kill them to retrieve the human organ. This website (http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/human-organs-grown-pigs-not-so-fast) goes into further detail on how this isn’t even plausible yet and human cells can’t survive in a pig. It’s cruel and I believe we should find a way to grow human organs without infringing on another animals life. #MyCMSTArgs

    • Seryna Valencia

      I can understand why this is saddening and probably wrong but to me the good out weighs the bad. Most of the population eat pig without a second thought for pleasure so using them to save a life makes the kill even more valuable. The pigs would probably be treated better if they were used for organ growing than they are currently treated for meat anyway.
      #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUPigs

    • Jonny Ballesteros

      I can see how this can make someone disagree with the idea but by doing this it can save many lives by providing what they need to stay alive. As of right now maybe it is not the best idea but once the science improves this can be very beneficial. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Seryna Valencia

    This is a strange idea but it makes some sense. According to https://phys.org/news/2015-09-hidden-evolutionary-relationship-pigs-primates.html us humans are very closely related to pigs and share some similar DNA. Pigs are already used for medical science as cadavers for students to practice on. Other than the obvious animal rights argument, I do not see why this is a ‘wrong thing to do’; we are using them anyway. Most of the United States population eat pig without batting an eye anyway so why not use them to save lives? If I were on my death bed needing an organ, I would take a new liver over a pulled pork sandwich any day. Once the science is there and it has been proven safe and humane then I think this will be a great new sector of the medical field. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUPigs

    • Jace Cuneo

      I agree with the reasons you have to believe what you believe. Looking outside the box, with no emotion I’d say it makes sense. But as humans I believe there is a line that we shouldn’t cross and one of those lines is mixing human cells with another creature. Controversial subject for sure.
      #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUPigs

  • Jace Cuneo

    Absolutely not. No way Jose! The process and idea behind this is just wrong. According to https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/science/chimera-stemcells-organs.html?_r=0 , they would have to put human cells into an early pig embryo, resulting in an animal that has both pig and human cells. This is not natural, playing god is dangerous, and seems quite immoral. Plus if everyone new that they could just get a new liver if they ruin theirs, we might abuse them more with drinking, pills, etc.
    #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUPigs

  • Hillary Clintub

    I wonder what kind of bacon they’d make.

  • Jonny Ballesteros

    I could see how this can be a good idea because it would benefit those who need organ donors. Doing this can also save many lives that are suffering and looking for donors. According to https://www.goshen.edu/academics/biology/pigbook/human-pig-comparisons/, pigs and humans share many similarities such as muscles and internal organs. I do not oppose to the fact of saving lives by simply doing this to pigs. Even though it is not natural it is something that can be changing someones life. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowUPigs

  • Eve Anderson

    I feel that using pigs to grow human organs may be very helpful towards humans that really need those donations. I also think this practice should be safe if we were to get into it, a pig-human hybrid is not something the world needs at the moment.

    As others have said in the comments, many parts of the world use pigs for food and what harm could it do if we killed a few pigs after using them for growing organs? Ultimately, the pig population would decrease and we won’t be able to grow organs after they’re either hard to find or extinct.

    So I say no, I don’t think pigs should be used for something so unnatural.

    #DoNowUPigs #MillerAPLang

    • Hillary Clintub

      We have a huge over abundance of feral pigs here in Texas we’d gladly donate to the cause. Our legislature is even now considering various plans for how to create a “pig apocalypse”. Hogs have never gone extinct anywhere they’ve been introduced. They drive everything else extinct instead. We can’t kill them fast enough. As they say, “Save the planet. Eat mo’ bacon!”

  • Bryn E

    I don’t think playing god like this would lead to a great outcome in the future. It looks like it could save millions of lives if it works how we imagine it to, but that ignores the fact that we’d open up a whole new industry for organ farming. As humans, we naturally want to preserve ourselves and put ourselves first, but at what cost? To use animals like this is frightening to me–growing pigs, or any animal for that matter, for the sole purpose to kill them for their organs definitely tips the balance towards unethical for me. What would we do with the rest of the pig? They certainly couldn’t survive without their organs, and it seems even more unethical to consider consuming the meat of a pig that has human DNA in it, so that’s pounds upon pounds of wasting organic matter. Where would it go? The risk of defects or unintentional human qualities elsewhere is equally frightening. What would happen to those pigs, too?
    Although so many lives could potentially be saved, I think I would need a more thorough explanation and strategy for how exactly this process would be handled. How farm animals are being mass produced nowadays is something that I believe still needs to be addressed, and I think there would need to be a lot more extensive regulations regarding organ farming. It’s an interesting idea, I can’t deny that, but I personally would need a lot of convincing to be comfortable seeing this idea actually in practice.
    #MillerAPLang #DoNowUPigs

  • Julia Boswell

    This new “advancement” is disturbingly unethical. Humans seem to have less respect for the life around them, and increasingly care only for the preservation of themselves. We are utilizing living things that are not meant for us to use for such drastic measures. Humans and animals, along with all other life, are meant to coexist within ethical means. Using pigs to grow human organs is so extreme, that it sounds absolutely ridiculous. Methods like this take years and years to get just right and deemed safe. There are too many things, in my opinion, that could go wrong. If these organs were to develop with the pig’s DNA, that would be a huge problem. Also, there seems to be little to no consideration for the pigs. They are still living beings who already contribute to our livelihood enough. Humans are quickly becoming blind in telling where to draw the line between what is ethical and what is unethical. We have already crossed that line with the animals we use for our own benefit with the absurd practice of factory farming. Actively practicing growing human organs in pigs would be crossing a whole other line. #DoNowUPigs

  • Aminah Coppage

    I believe that this plan for implanting pigs with human embryo so that the offspring develops human organs is unethical. However, it could have the possibility to help those in need of organ donations. What if something went wrong in the development of the fetus though? Why would we breed a pig simply to implant it with human embryo, then kill it’s baby, then kill the pig itself. It could threaten the ability to even eat bacon anymore! Chemicals could get mixed up, many things would change and many factors go into it. I do not think it is a good idea, I believe everyone should just be registered as an organ donor at birth or something of that nature. If we are honest, 100’s of people die each and every day, if we were all donors, I am sure somehow the availability of healthy organs would increase and the amount of people on a waiting list for an organ would go down. #DoNowUPigs @KQEDedspace

  • Preicious Boyd

    Well to me I feel that this a very advance gene editing. The more we look at scientist doing gene editing it seems that humans around the world are not gaining the respect like they should.We are taking non human things characteristics giving them human . I think they are taking this experiment too extreme. Let’s say that the organ develop in the pigs DNA that would be a very serious issue for the pigs.Although that it seems like a good idea I don’t think that they should continue their research.#DoNowUPigs

  • Amy Newburg

    I don’t think this should even be a thing to consider. I don’t like the idea of growing human organs inside a pig. That’s what humans are for. Humans can grow human organs and pigs can pig organs, and they definably shouldn’t mix. Although it could be helpful in some cases, I don’t think it should be an option. It is unethical. I don’t like the idea that if I ever needed an organ transplant, it would be from a pig. A pig. Yes, there is a shortage of humans donating, but this is why people need to encourage each other to do that. Overall, I do not agree with this idea that is developing.

  • Madison Speicher

    I believe it could be very helpful if we can perfect everything about it. It would save a ton of lives overall. If this ever became on option within the world of organ donation I think whoever is planned to receive an organ that was grown within in the pig has a say in if they want the organ or not. Yes if everyone was an organ donor it would help an argument against this but that will never happen. Not everyone wants to be an organ donor because of personal reasons or that their organs are not up to standard anyways. #donowupigs

  • Sarah Johnson

    I we should not be trying to grow human organs in a pig. Its unethical and unsafe. Humans only care about themselves and don’t think about the other life they’re effecting. The organs might not be safe for humans to have in their body. I think that instead of trying to ‘farm’ organs we should be informing people about the need for organ donations so they can become an organ donor. It is cruel to raise pigs just so they can be killed for our benefit. The pigs might have health issues throughout their life and the people receiving the organ might as well. #DoNowUPigs @KQEDedspace

  • Mia Verdugo

    if I was the person in a situation where I would need a transplant, I would be relieved to know that something like this was happening. Being a person in that situation is scary and I would want to be saved no matter what. I would agree with it if I was coming from that point of view. I agree but I also disagree. I would want to be okay and have a transplant but I know that using pigs for science is not the most ethical way to go. It’s not right to use animals for that kind of thing but I understand why they’re doing something like this. I wont blame them for trying to save people but I’m not sure that saving people this way is the right way to go. I don’t know if more people are going to be donors. The number of donors could always go down and when it comes to something like that, then I will feel like that is the more smart way to go. #DoNowUPigs

  • Charliss Judge

    I think that this discovery in medicine will lead to the extinction of pigs. We already use pigs as a food source for things like bacon and sausage. Their population is always decreasing and increasing due to mating, but why should we kill their population dead for experimenting. Animals should not be used as testing dummies because their lives matter too. When we test cars out for the first time after building it, we don’t use reaI humans to test them out because its a risk to their life. This could kill them because their replacing their natural organs with human ones. I do believe that discoveries need to be made to save lives and to expand our knowledge, but do pigs not count as living organisms too?#DoNowUPigs @KQEDedspace

  • Shelquasia Staton

    I think this new advancement can be both helpful and wasteful. Sure it may be able to help out humans but what about the pigs? We don’t yet know what effect it would have on the animals. I don’t think the idea is very natural. Though it could save many lives. It would really help people in need. I think it would be very beneficial to humans but we have to look at the cons of humans. #DoNowUPigs @KQEDedspace

  • Hunter Brown

    While I agree that this new advancement in technology could save thousands, if not millions of human lives, I still think it is unethical at best to use pigs to do so. Why should we place ourselves above them? I am well aware that it is only human to place ourselves above animals because we are more intelligent, but are we really more deserving of life than they are? I think this should be researched more, and I am willing to accept most of anything that has the potential to save lives, but not at the cost of killing something else. #DoNowUPigs

  • Brandon Spruill

    The idea of using pigs to grow human organs is kind of disturbing to me. I feel like humans do not care about anything other than themselves because thats not right. That’s putting the pigs through distress having to do that over and over and the result aren’t 100 percent. They say that it could cause the pigs to have human characteristics. So does that mean that if successful the human characteristics? I think if you have this much technology to make these things, why can’t you find different technology to do something to help those in need. I know in some cases the organs are very much needed, but I know that there are different things you can do to help. #DoNowUPigs @KQEDedspace

  • Josephine Banfield

    There are a lot of ‘what if’s’ with this new advancement. The only reason why I am not saying no is because there are so many people’s lives on the line every day. People wait years for organ transplants. I think they should try it, just to see how things go. If it’s successful, then I think they should give it a go with transplanting the organ into a human. Yes, just like any other organ the body can reject it. But people have come to the point where they are desperate. That doesn’t mean the pigs themselves don’t matter. Thousands of pigs will be killed just to harvest the organs, but thousands of animals are killed just for meat or fur. I think since so many lives need to be saved, they should give it a try. #DoNowUPigs @KQEDedspace

  • Zyaire Barbour

    think that there is too many things that we don’t know in using pigs to harvest human organs that could possibly lead to more harm then good. I see how this could be a great step in helping all those in need of organs as we all know that the list is very, very long. I think that using pigs to grow human organs should be closely monitored by our government to ensure that scientist do not overstep any boundaries. With that being sad, maybe its a step forward in the right direction but I don’t think this is the way to do it. he idea of mixing different animal species and human-animal species has been around for decades and pigs are not humans, so producing them for the sole purpose of killing them in the end, wastes the earths resources and pigs add up. Saving human lives by increasing the number of organ donations is crucial to saving more human lives, and we must make that effort. There are so much more controversy to the proposition that people will always continue to go back and forth about.#DoNowUPigs22

  • Diana Ward

    @KQEDedspace Although this experimentation may have the potential to open a world of new possibilities in organ receival and medicine, overall it would be unsafe. Inserting an organ into a human, that though may have been produced using some human cells, will have by whole been made to support a pig’s body and not a human. The development of these organs may be slowed due to a faster gestation period in pigs, because we do not know what human aspects an organ will develop. The organ may need a full 9 months of development, and use before it can even be considered for a human body. Also, Inserting such a foreign organ, unlike other transplants, where before contained 100% human DNA, now contain an animal’s genetics which may cause some patient’s body to reject the organ even more fiercely than the slowed organ they started with. The potential for human’s to be more susceptible to pig induced diseases and virus’s also increases as they will have added some of pig genetic makeup to their bodies. Human’s were made for human bodies, and mixing genetics and potentially developing partially human pigs would affect the entire future of the world. There would then be the need for protection of these rights because they may develop abilities to think more like humans, feel like humans, or behave like humans. In addition, scientists would need to have human subjects to test on, and that would be very unsafe because as it is we are still trying to fully understand human brains on their own, but introducing a new species’s organs into us could cause situations that we as humans are not ready or capable to handle. Altogether, this would be ethical in the sense of trying to do right for people and increase the availability for organs but it is not ethical because it’s risks outweigh potential benefits including jeopardizing more human life than helping. #DoNowUPigs

  • Trevor Ramsey

    @KQEDedspace With the discussion about the ethical use of stem cell research becoming more and more relevant every day, at any point are we over-complicating the science? Humans are trying to prolong life at all cost possible. In our attempts we have started using non-human test subjects trying to find a cure for disease previously thought incurable. The process of splicing genes of a pig embryo to hold human stem cells in hopes that a sow will carry a human lung inside of a fetal pig full term seems like a much more difficult task than using the lung of a donor. a 2011 study by donatelife.net shows that nearly 100 million people, or 42% of the adult population, are registered as organ donors. If the United States were to incorporate a law like France making every citizen an organ donor until they choose otherwise, the opposite of what America has done, the need for organ donation will decrease significantly. It is up to the human race to help each other out by offering organs no longer needed instead of modifying another life form. #DoNowUPigs #MyCMSTArgs

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor