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."
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.
"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."
Norwegian school brutally kicks out students, reopens as immigration center 2015-11-25 1:46
A failing Norwegian school has brutally kicked out all of the students living there with just a few days notice to find somewhere else to live and study. It has now reopened as a reception center for immigrants.
The school, called Waldorf, is in the RĂ¸yken municipality of Buskerud County. It had been failing for sometime, and was officially declared bankrupt ...
Why not hear about Islam from a woman who grew up as Muslim in the ME? 2015-11-25 1:52
Youtube description: She says: "I have reached a boiling point with these lies about Islam! Please share it, don't let me waste my breath....go to voxpopulinews.net for a translation of the ISIS website along with other great articles and podcasts!"
Funniest Moments of Illegal Migrants 2015-11-25 1:27
- Beginner picture: Macedonia
- Disastrous migrant: Hungary-Serbia border (Serbian side)
- Grateful migrants: Hungary (Budapest)
- Border Control: Austria (Slovenian border)
- Migrant actor: Hungary-Serbia border (Serbian side)
- Intelligent migrants: Hungary-Serbia border (Hungarian arie) (The fence was built from the border 2,5meters, in Hungarian area)
- Idiot migrant: Hungary (Bicske)
Pew: 65% say the news media has a 'negative effect' on America 2015-11-25 1:55
More than six in 10 Americans believe that the news media, followed closely by Hollywood, has a negative effect on the country, according to a new survey.
An extensive new Pew Research Center survey finds that 65 percent believe that the news media "has a negative effect on the way things are going in the country." Some 56 percent said the ...
Hostage situation reported in N. France, several suffer 'gunshot wounds'' 2015-11-25 1:12
A hostage situation has been reported in the northern French town of Roubaix near the Belgian border. Several people have sustained gunshot wounds, Reuters reported citing medical sources.
The area has been cordoned off by police, RTL reported, adding that gunfire can be heard.
La Voix du Nord newspaper says the hostage takers are armed with Kalashnikovs. Witnesses told the daily that ...