Genetically enhancing a special New Zealand breed of pig could make it an ideal organ donor for humans in the future, scientists say.

In a new million-dollar study led by AgResearch, scientists plan to gene edit Auckland Island pigs for use as potential candidates for xenografts, or transplants from other species.

The concept itself isn't new - scientists around the world have long singled out pigs as promising sources of cells, tissues and organs to meet an ever-high global demand for transplants.

That's namely because pigs breed easily and in some ways are anatomically and physiologically similar to humans.