XENOTRANSPLANTATION (Syllabus GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     14th May 2024        
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Context: The first recipient of a pig kidney recently passed away two months after the surgery, with his family and doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital not associating his death with the transplant.


  • About: It involves transplanting living cells, tissues, or organs from one species to another.
  • Origin: Derived from the Latin term 'xeno,' meaning 'foreign.'
  • Scope: Encompasses procedures involving nonhuman animal sources into human recipients, as defined by the US FDA.
  • Working technology:

o Surgical Procedure: Resembles standard organ transplant procedures.

o Genetic Modification: Animal organs undergo genetic alterations to prevent rejection in humans.

o Technological Intervention: CRISPR-Cas9 technology used for gene editing.

o Modification: It involves removal of pig genes producing immune-reactive sugars and addition of human genes for improved compatibility.

Why are pigs often used for xenotransplantation?

  • Due to their anatomical and physiological similarity to humans.
  • The widespread and cost-effective breeding of pigs makes them an accessible source of organs, and the variety of pig breeds allows for matching organ sizes with human recipients' needs.