The cloning of a miniature pig lacking both copies of a gene involved in immediate immune rejection has brought the prospect of transplanting pig organs into people a little closer. The small pig’s organs are similar in size to those of humans and the missing genes make the organs less likely to be rejected.

The birth of two-month-old Goldie, cloned by the US-based Immerge BioTherapeutics, was announced at a conference in New Zealand on Sunday. The cloning process is important because it ensures all the cells in all the pigs produced are missing the desired gene.

Thousands of people die every year while waiting for organ transplants and the company hopes to create a herd of miniature pigs that can be used as a source of organs for human transplantation.