In 2013, a geneticist and PhD professor at the University of Georgia, Dr. Eugene M. McCarthy had theorised that humans are most likely a hybrid of chimpanzees and pigs. Geneticists have been developing hybrid, fertile offsprings in a variety of different plant and animal species for decades, including the Zebroid (zebra + horse), the Grolar Bear (grizzly bear + polar bear), Beefalo (domestic cattle + American bison) amongst others, the most well known being the Mule (male donkey + female horse), although the latter is known to be sterile.
The latest analysis also shows that human limbs share a genetic programme with the gills of cartilaginous fishes such as sharks and skates, according to research at Cambridge University. The "sonic hedgehog gene" discovered in the 1980s, is responsible for animals to form digits or fingers, although these genes are silent and unexpressed in fish. The gene for gills that we share with fish is responsible for the development of our voices and sense of hearing.
Scientists have written that pigs possess high intelligence, emotional complexity, sense of time and other attributes that are beyond the scope of our companion animals, such as dogs and cats, and that we need to "rethink our relationship with pigs."
In history, many religions, such as Islam and Judaism have banned the killing of pigs and eating them. Could it be that our ancestors were more closely attuned to the similarities between humans and pigs? Many people have reported that the smell of bacon is strikingly similar to the smell of burning human flesh, and perhaps through atavistic instincts, we are either repulsed or attracted to the scent, depending on whether our ancestral lineages were cannibalistic or not. It is clear, however, that we can no longer deny that we share many of the same genes and attributes with pigs.
Research at Northwestern University has shown that a combination of nanotechnology and biology may enable damaged tissues and organs to heal themselves. In a dramatic demonstration of what nanotechnology might achieve in regenerative medicine, paralyzed lab mice with spinal cord injuries have regained the ability to use their hind legs six weeks after a simple injection of a purpose-designed nanomaterial. Another methodology is through the use of 3D bioprinting to create new tissues and organs.
Organovo (NASDAQ: ONVO) is a 3D bioprinting startup founded in 2007 in San Diego, California that develops human tissue and organs. Other startups in this sector include Rokit (founded 2012, South Korea), Aspect Biosystems (founded 2013, British Columbia), 3D Bioprinting Solutions (founded 2013, Russia), and BioBots (founded 2014, Pennsylvania).
By Sierra Choi