Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

From a J. Neil Schulman article on Organ Cloning:

Cannibalizing organs from other people also entails the risk of rejection because of incompatibilities, not only for tissue-typing but also for gross anatomical mismatches. Cloning organs [...] has the potential of taking a human being's own genetic material and growing perfect replacement organs which are fully compatible with their genetic makeup.

The reason for using a person's own DNA, is obviously to avoid an allergic reaction to the antigen markers on a strange organ. But in the blood typing system, there exist types which don't have any trouble-making antigens (such as type O-negative, called a "Universal Donor").

Would it be possible to grow an analogous "universal" internal organ, which didn't have any antigens indicating it was a foreign body? (By editing a DNA sample to remove certain expressed proteins, then growing it into an organ.)

I realize this is technically a science-fiction question :) But - A: it may not be in the near future, and B: I can rephrase it to remove the SF component:

In the blood-typing system, the AB antigens don't appear necessary for proper functioning of red blood cells - are the antigens on a person's own cells, actually needed for any essential functions, or could they be removed, without affecting that person's health?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

On the question "would this possible?", my answer is yes.

It is not unimaginable that organs could be grown without MHC proteins, although, as you mentioned, there's no guarantee that essential functions of the organ wouldn't be affected as well.

This is not science-fiction at all. The question deserves a good answer by someone who works in the field!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.