Japan may soon be bringing Hot Pocket-style convenience to organ transplants, with new guidelines drawn up by a government-appointed panel proposing that restrictions on scientists should be eased in order to allow human organs to be grown inside animals.
The current law stipulates that human cells attached to animal embryos can be developed for a limit of 14 days, but new regulations would allow the embryos to be implanted into animals’ wombs (most likely pigs) and grown into working human organs for patients in need of transplants. If successful, organ shortages could soon become a thing of the past, and pigs could provide us not only with delicious bacon, but also new kidneys and moral dilemmas.
One pig attempts to evade the scientists with his best sheep impression (Pic: Imgur)
The process has created worldwide controversy for various reasons, including the necessary slaughter of the animal to harvest the organ, but in Japan the domestic media coverage is overwhelmingly positive, likely reflecting the country’s high levels of scientific literacy. And awesome organ skills.
The scheme could become reality within five years, though just for necessary transplants. Some consumers in Japan may be disappointed to learn that a transplant of genuine cat ears that waggle when you’re happy will not be on offer.
“How about a small tail?”