Artificial jellyfish created from heart cells
2012 07 24

From: BBCNews

Scientists in the US have created a free swimming artificial jellyfish.

The team members built the replica using silicone as a base on which to grow heart muscle cells that were harvested from rats.

They used an electric current to shock the Medusoid into swimming with synchronised contractions that mimic those of real jellyfish.

The advance, by researchers at Caltech and Harvard University, is reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

The finding serves as a proof of concept for reverse engineering a variety of muscular organs and simple life forms.

Because jellyfish use a muscle to pump their way through the water, the way they function - on a very basic level - is similar to that of a human heart.

"I started looking at marine organisms that pump to survive," said Kevin Kit Parker, a professor of bioengineering and applied physics at Harvard.

"Then I saw a jellyfish at the New England Aquarium, and I immediately noted both similarities and differences between how the jellyfish pumps and the human heart.

"The similarities help reveal what you need to do to design a bio-inspired pump."

Mechanical movement

The work also points to a broader definition of "synthetic life" in an emerging field of science that has until now focused on replicating life’s building blocks, say the researchers.

Prof Parker said he wanted to challenge the traditional view of synthetic biology which is "focused on genetic manipulations of cells". Instead of building just a cell, he sought to "build a beast".

The two groups at Caltech and Harvard worked for years to understand the key factors that contribute to jellyfish propulsion, including the arrangement of their muscles, how their bodies contract and recoil, and how fluid dynamics helps or hinders their movements.




Once these functions were well understood, the researchers began to reverse engineer them.

They used silicone to fashion a jellyfish-shaped body with eight arm-like appendages.

Next, they printed a pattern made of protein onto the "body" that resembled the muscle architecture of the real animal.

They grew the heart muscle cells on top, with the protein pattern serving as a road map for the growth and organisation of the rat tissue. This allowed them to turn the cells into a coherent swimming muscle.

When the researchers set the Medusoid free in a container of electrically conducting fluid, they shocked the Medusoid into swimming with synchronised contractions. The muscle cells even started to contract a bit on their own before the electrical current was applied.


[...]


Read the full article at: bbc.co.uk





"This video shows the launch and swimming of a tissue-engineered jellyfish, or "Medusoid," compared to real jellyfish, and the intermediate design steps. The construct is made from silicone rubber and powered by lab-grown heart tissue. Contraction of the Medusoid, at a frequency of 1-2Hz, can be triggered by external electrical field stimulation. The Medusoid was built in a proof-of-concept study at Caltech and Harvard for designing muscular pumps for biomedical application."







Related Articles
Scientist claims jellyfish-like aliens exist
Jellyfish-Like Organisms Shut Down California Power Plant
Robot jellyfish: U.S. Navy-backed researchers developing Robojelly


Latest News from our Front Page

Recent Israeli Synagogue Attack, a Possible False Flag?
2014 11 21
Dear Friends - I woke up yesterday morning to see a newspaper lying on the kitchen table with the front page proclaiming that five people were slain in an Israeli synagogue after a so-called "Palestinian attack." Some members of the media said that four people were killed, others said five, so it seems like that there was some confusion (or ...
The Michael Brown Shooting, Race Baiting for Political Power and Militarization of the Police
2014 11 21
From Youtube: The evidence clearly shows that Officer Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown, so why is this case being hyped by the mainstream media and the leftist political establishment?
Ancient Aryan Mummies and Pyramids of China
2014 11 21
After years of controversy and political intrigue, archaeologists using genetic testing have proven that Caucasians roamed China’s Tarim Basin thousands of years before East Asian people arrived. The research, which the Chinese government has appeared to have delayed making public out of concerns of fueling Uighur Muslim separatism in its western-most Xinjiang region, is based on a cache of ancient dried-out ...
Detekt: A New Malware Detection Tool That Can Expose Illegitimate State Surveillance
2014 11 21
Recent years have seen a boom in the adoption of surveillance technology by governments around the world, including spyware that provides its purchasers the unchecked ability to target remote Internet users’ computers, to read their personal emails, listen in on private audio calls, record keystrokes and passwords, and remotely activate their computer’s camera or microphone. EFF, together with Amnesty International, ...
New UK spy chief says tech giants aid terrorism, privacy not ‘absolute right’
2014 11 21
Robert Hannigan, the new head of GCHQ The new head of Britain’s GCHQ, the UK equivalent of the NSA in the U.S., said he believes privacy is not an absolute right and that tech giants must open themselves up to intelligence agencies. “GCHQ is happy to be part of a mature debate on privacy in the digital age,” Hannigan said. “But privacy ...
More News »