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‘FRANKEN-JELLY’ THE JELLYFISH MADE FROM THE HEART CELLS OF A RAT

This 'jellyfish' was created using the heart cells of a rat.

This is just incredible.

Scientists and researchers are creating new things all the time to help us better understand the way our world works but two guys in-particular, bioengineers John Dabiri and Kevin Kit Parker, have made something pretty unique using only the heart cells from a rat, some silicon and, with just a dash of electricity, have birthed a creation they’ve dubbed “Franken-jelly”.

Watch it in action below:

Wired Science writes:

Now Frankenstein can have a pet jellyfish. A team of scientists has taken the heart cells of a rat, arranged them on a piece of rubbery silicon, added a jolt of electricity, and created a “Franken-jelly.” Just like a real jellyfish, the artificial jelly swims around by pumping water in and out of its bell-shaped body. Researchers hope the advance can someday help engineers design better artificial hearts and other muscular organs.

Young moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita), which are usually between 10 and 12 cm wide, swim rhythmically. First, they flex their muscles quickly and all at once, expelling water as they take on a dome shape. Then, slowly, their body relaxes and flattens, triggering another round of muscle contractions. Researchers knew which cells helped jellyfish move, and how they work together to push and pull water. What they wanted to find out was how best to recreate this behavior using materials available in the lab.

Bioengineers John Dabiri from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, and Kevin Kit Parker from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University adopted a motto: Copy nature, but not too much. “Some engineers build things out of concrete, copper and steel—we build things out of cells,” says Parker.

The duo and their colleagues stenciled out the ideal jellyfish shape on silicon, a material that would be sturdy but flexible, much like the jellyfish itself. They then coached rat muscle cells to grow in parallel bands on the silicon and encased the cells with a stretchy material called elastomer. To get their artificial jellyfish, or medusoid, swimming, the researchers submerged it in a salty solution and ran an electric current through the water, jump-starting the rat cells. The mimic propelled itself rapidly in the water,swimming as effectively as a real jellyfish, the researchers report online today in Nature Biotechnology.

Read more at wired.com/wiredscience

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