Like a child, a stem cell can grow up to be just about anything. Eventually it picks a job, however, during a process called differentiation. Scientists can influence, if not always control, the outcome by applying compounds called growth factors. Now Jianping Fu, a biomedical and mechanical engineer at the University of Michigan, and his colleagues have discovered that the force exerted by a stem cell onto a surface is an important part of in both predicting and altering what type of cell it will develop into.
Fu placed a stem cell on a scaffold of 13-micron-long silicone posts and found that the amount of force the cell exerted on those posts indicated it would eventually become a fat cell. But he also found that when he stiffened the surface by shortening the posts, it caused the same line of stem cells to turn into bone. Knowing how to predict and manipulate the fate of stem cells will make therapies based on them—for spinal-injury repair, bone grafts, skin transplants—easier to develop.
And when I want to create my super mutant zombie empire all I need are small posts and stem cells? WHAT!?
Ah, stem cells, the philosopher's stone of biology!
Do they grow like children because they're made out of murdered children?
/waits patiently for the chaos that is about to ensue.
This is great, so we can pretty much make an unknown wide variety of things with these stem cells. So many pro's and con's it's no wonder this is such a big issue in the white house for stem cell research. On the good you have an almost "cure-all" ordeal here. If you need a new liver just give us a few weeks and we'll have you one fit for you. But then on the downside, and like what has already been mentioned but not as drastic I would hope; mutants, zombies, not to mention diseases. If stem cells can grow into an unpredicted state, then who's to say that this is impossible?
or the entire moral delima could be sidestepped by using adult stem cells, if i remember reading correctly they have also figured out how to transform them into a state that is equivalent to embryonic, or we could just use already established stem cell lines.
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So, put if you put stem cells next to a fat cell, it turns into a fat cell? Wow that's crazy
What they should do is take the entire embryo, essentially a stem cell organism, and put it next to a giraffe, and boom: next thing you know little Billy is 20 feet tall and eating trees.
I hope you're joking because, um... No.
This is interesting though. They've known for a while that cells differentiate based on outside forces. For instance, a vein can be removed and used to replace an artery, (during bypass surgery) and the increase of pressure causes the vein cells to become arteriol cells.
But the fact that the force alone can cause a completely pluipotent stem cell to differentiate into a specific cell would seem to indicate that there are seperate, potentially redundant ways in which a stem cell determines the surrounding tissue.
This could also be useful for growing cell cultures around implants before inserting them. Coat different parts with different surfaces, let the cells differentiate, then insert.
Even after this amazing discovery you'll hear all the republicans ranting about how morally wrong it is. Despite it being potentially a important to the future of science and medicine.
We've cloned animals from adult cells. It's almost positively possible to create human clones from adult cells as well...
***************** What does the morality group have to say about embryos created from adult cells? They're embryos after all... *****************
Are the only embryos that 'deserve' legal protection those that are a result of sperm and egg cells?
An embryo created from sperm and egg in a petri dish can in no way result in a baby if it's not implanted. A majority of in-utero embryos don't implant either, they're naturally aborted, or fail to implant for whatever reason. If we could collect those through some means, would that skirt the morality issue entirely?
Maybe the morality issue, if one exists at all, should begin with implanted embryos, instead of starting with just embryos?
(Maybe someone should start a for-profit venture to harvest embryos from menstrual blood. Sexually-Active Ladies, help save a life, collect your menstrual fluids in this container, and send post-paid to : ....... And the company can harvest whatever may be of use from the fluids, which may include living embryos that God saw fit to not let implant, which would leave the morality up to him, and the saving of lives up to us?)
Thank you for your post, finally a comment that sits in between the 2 FACTIONS at war here without blaming one or the other.
So if i put stem cells next to a shakey's pizza Ill get another shakey's pizza? Sweeet
What people dont understand about embryonic stem cells is that scientists aren't just killing some random embryo. The embryos used are the extras made IVF clinic (a clinic that implants fertilized eggs into sterile females). If the scientists didn't use the blastocysts (early embryos) for stem cell research they would end up just throwing them away, so why not use them for science?