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Xenotransplantation is defined as the transference of living material (e.g., tissues, cells, organs) between species. The idea of transplanting parts from different species is noted in the Hindu religion and in ancient Greek history. Blood transfusion from animals to humans was performed in 17th-century France with mixed results, and skin graft xenotransplantation became popular in the 19th century. Today, human heart valves can be replaced by xenotransplants taken from pigs or cows. Xenotransplantation offers prospects of providing tissues and organs for clinical transplantation, which could help to resolve the shortage of human tissue that prohibits patients from receiving timely transplants.

To date, there continues to be minimal success with whole organ transplantation; however, advancements in immunology have fueled a renewed interest in understanding basic mechanisms and ...

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