Monday, July 23, 2012

Advances in Science

Instead of more scientific studies we keep experimenting on different ways to kill human beings in unwanted and illegal wars.

Building on recent advances in marine biomechanics, materials science, and tissue engineering, a team of researchers at Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has turned inanimate silicon and living cardiac muscle cells into a freely swimming “jellyfish.

The development serves as a proof of concept for reverse engineering a variety of muscular organs and simple life forms. It also suggests a broader definition of what counts as synthetic life in an emerging field that has primarily focused on replicating life’s building blocks.

The researchers’ method for building the tissue-engineered “jellyfish,” dubbed “Medusoid,” was published in Nature Biotechnology on July 22.

An authority on cell- and tissue-powered actuators, co-author Kevin Kit Parker previously demonstrated that bioengineered constructs can grip, pump, and even walk. The inspiration to raise the bar and mimic a jellyfish came out of Parker’s frustration with the state of the cardiac field.

Akin to how a human heart moves blood throughout the body, jellyfish propel themselves through the water by pumping. The researchers, in figuring out how to take apart and then rebuild the primary motor function of a jellyfish, worked to gain new insights into how such pumps work.........

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