Pig heartbeats adjusted with gene therapy

Pigs' defective hearts maintained a healthy rhythm for two weeks when injected with the gene TBX18, researchers report.


Injecting the gene TBX18 into the defective hearts of pigs prevented the organ from developing abnormally slow rhythms. The protection lasted two weeks, scientists report July 16 in Science Translational Medicine. If shown to work in humans, the biological pacemaker could help patients who cannot have electrical pacemakers implanted.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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