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US, YAU scientists make breakthrough in xeno-transplantation

Updated:2017-08-11 10:58:20   english.yunnan.cn

Scientists with the US eGenesis company and the Yunnan Agricultural University (YAU) have jointly resolved the safety concern caused by porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERV) in cross-species cell transplanting, making breakthrough in xeno-transplantation whose study has been in stagnation for 12 years.

“Using CRISPR gene editing, researchers from the company and several academic labs created dozens of apparently healthy pigs with no trace of PERV genes,” said an article posted at www.sciencemag.org on August 10.

To make progress, US scientists joined hands with the research team headed by Professor Wei Hongjiang with Yunnan Agricultural University (YAU). 

Based on gene-editing by US eGenesis company staff Dr. Yang Luhan and Harvard University geneticists George Church, the Yunnan research team have cloned 37 piglets so far, all appeared to be PERV-free.

"Out of the 37 cloned piglets, 15 are still alive and in theory their life expectancy should be as long as that of ordinary pigs," said Wei Hongjiang at an interview with a Yunnan Daily reporter on August 10th.

The piglets are four months old now and all are in good health. Next, the Yunnan team aims to improve the genome in an effort to get rid of immunological rejection and put their results into clinic practices.

A leading scientist in gene-editing and somatic cell cloning, Wei Hongjiang has been working for Yunnan Agricultural University since 2004.

Chinese reporting by Xiong Yan, Trans-editing by Eric Wang

Click here to read the Science article.


 

Keywords:   YAU scientists xeno-transplantation