The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires all new medicines to be tested in animals before use in people. Pigs make better medical research subjects than mice, because they are closer to humans in size, physiology and genetic makeup.

In recent years, professor of animal science Christopher Tuggle and his team at Iowa State University have found a way to make pigs an even closer stand-in for humans. They have successfully transferred components of the human immune system into pigs that lack a functional immune system. This breakthrough has the potential to accelerate medical research in many areas, including virus and vaccine research, as well as cancer and stem cell therapeutics.

Read Tuggle’s full article in The Conversation here.