Generation of human organs in pigs via interspecies blastocyst complementation

J. Wu, A. Platero Luengo, M. A. Gil, K. Suzuki, C. Cuello, M. Morales Valencia, I. Parrilla, C. A. Martinez, A. Nohalez, J. Roca, E. A. Martinez*, J. C. Izpisua Belmonte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


More than eighteen years have passed since the first derivation of human embryonic stem cells (ESCs), but their clinical use is still met with several challenges, such as ethical concerns regarding the need of human embryos, tissue rejection after transplantation and tumour formation. The generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) enables the access to patient-derived pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) and opens the door for personalized medicine as tissues/organs can potentially be generated from the same genetic background as the patient recipients, thus avoiding immune rejections or complication of immunosuppression strategies. In this regard, successful replacement, or augmentation, of the function of damaged tissue by patient-derived differentiated stem cells provides a promising cell replacement therapy for many devastating human diseases. Although human iPSCs can proliferate unlimitedly in culture and harbour the potential to generate all cell types in the adult body, currently, the functionality of differentiated cells is limited. An alternative strategy to realize the full potential of human iPSC for regenerative medicine is the in vivo tissue generation in large animal species via interspecies blastocyst complementation. As this technology is still in its infancy and there remains more questions than answers, thus in this review, we mainly focus the discussion on the conceptual framework, the emerging technologies and recent advances involved with interspecies blastocyst complementation, and will refer the readers to other more in-depth reviews on dynamic pluripotent stem cell states, genome editing and interspecies chimeras. Likewise, other emerging alternatives to combat the growing shortage of human organs, such as xenotransplantation or tissue engineering, topics that has been extensively reviewed, will not be covered here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
JournalReproduction in Domestic Animals
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We apologize to colleagues whose work has not been included in this review owing to space limitations. We would like to thank all members from the Izpisua Belmonte laboratory and the Martinez laboratory for their constructive discussions that led to some of the ideas presented in this review. We would like to thank May Schwarz and Peter Schwarz for their critical reading of the manuscript. Work in the laboratory of J.C.I.B. was supported by the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable Foundation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust (2012-PG-MED002), the Moxie Foundation, the Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia (UCAM) and Fundacion Dr. Pedro Guillen. Work in the laboratory of University of Murcia was supported by Fundación Séneca (19892/GERM/15), Murcia, Spain.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Blackwell Verlag GmbH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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