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April 6, 2011 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Watch stem cells spontaneously form into an eye in the lab. Japanese scientists at the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology have successfully encouraged mouse stem cells to form a crude eye - the first time the optic structure has been created outside a living host - with hopes of human cell trials in two years.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (33 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
OH MY GOD IT'S LOOKING AT ME

Seriously, though, this is incredibly awesome.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:47 PM on April 6, 2011


"Don't know, I don't know such stuff. I just do eyes, ju-, ju-, just eyes... just genetic design, just eyes."
posted by loquacious at 1:55 PM on April 6, 2011 [17 favorites]


Next stop, shoggoth factory!
posted by FatherDagon at 1:57 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


SCIENCE!
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:57 PM on April 6, 2011


It took me about 10 seconds to imagine farms of limbless human bodies being grown and sold to people for sexual gratification and the hints of scifi story around that.

Wait, why are you leaving the room?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:58 PM on April 6, 2011


Niiice, I wouldn't mind actually being able to see in stereo (though the minor obstacle of splicing a long dormant optic nerve remains). I always figured I'd go Zeiss Ikon on my left eye, but wetware is certainly okay too ,)
posted by bouvin at 1:59 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, why are you leaving the room?

I'm taking this glass you just drank from to the lab to run some, uh, cultures. Why?
posted by loquacious at 2:11 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know we're treating this lightly, but...

Isn't anybody else just weirded out by the fact that this is possible? Yeesh, maybe I'm just having an old man day or something...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 2:34 PM on April 6, 2011


This kind of stuff just fascinates me. There was an article in National Geographic recently about organ regeneration. From my very limited understanding of the subject, there is great potential here for organ transplants; because the "starter" cells come from the patient's own body, there is much lower risk of the "grown" organ being rejected.

Still waiting on my holodeck, though.
posted by xedrik at 2:58 PM on April 6, 2011


xedrik: Still waiting on my holodeck, though.

Personally, I'd settle for new teeth.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:12 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


If an eye, why not a kidney? A heart? A liver? Myelin sheathing?

I look forward to the day I can replace any part of myself like switching out batteries. I will live forever!
posted by cereselle at 3:18 PM on April 6, 2011


Irreducible complexity, my eye! (Is this the straw that breaks the camels back when it comes to convincing faith based biologists that maybe, just maybe, evolution is probably right?)
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 3:25 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It took me about 10 seconds to imagine farms of limbless human bodies being grown and sold to people for sexual gratification

Uh, pretty sure that they can just grow them with limbs, but whatever you're into...

If an eye, why not a kidney? A heart? A liver? Myelin sheathing?

I look forward to the day I can replace any part of myself like switching out batteries. I will live forever!


Billionaire overlords will live forever! 80% of the earth's population will be allowed to die out, and history will be wallpapered over so that the victors' descendants will feel no qualms!
posted by hermitosis at 3:28 PM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


How close is this to going in a skull?
posted by codacorolla at 3:35 PM on April 6, 2011


Great! Now the damage from chemicals and radioactivity can be fixed with new tissue for the richest people!
posted by rough ashlar at 3:35 PM on April 6, 2011


Uh, pretty sure that they can just grow them with limbs, but whatever you're into...

Ignores that pesky "are they alive/sentient creatures" question for those into that sort of thing. I'm sure there will be those loking for an actual Love Doll®.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:35 PM on April 6, 2011


Brandon Blatcher: you've been spending too much time with the Telenoid R1
posted by adamrice at 3:39 PM on April 6, 2011


Yeah, I could use the new teeth (I have diabetes-related tooth loss), and my niece could use the new eye (shot out -- well, permanently damaged -- in a misguided prank involving a BB gun).
posted by dhartung at 3:43 PM on April 6, 2011


You know that thrill you got from science fiction as a kid? All those gaudy paperbacks, those gorgeous yellow Gollancz hardbacks, the Golden Age reprints and the endless shelves of weird futures? And the real world was sorta like a dull, cut-down, low-rent, monochrome kit of parts instead? A few channels of TV, weak little lasers, a handful of rather clunky robot spacecraft sending back postcards of nearby lumps of rock...

Well, shee-it. Global networks with giant brains sifting all human knowledge. Panoramic scans of the edge of the universe, in glistening colour. And my newspaper has turned into something that delivers pictures of an eye being built from basic bits, as a movie, on my $100 phone, over the air, for when I get bored with cyberkittens. And I have a laser that, if I pointed it at a passing 747, would get me locked up for a year.

Now, can we have the warp drive? I don't wish to seem ungrateful, but...
posted by Devonian at 3:48 PM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, there goes that intelligent design debate about eyes being too complicated to have evolved.
posted by spiderskull at 4:08 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It took me about 10 seconds to imagine farms of limbless human bodies being grown and sold to people for sexual gratification

Non-cloned life is pretty cheap these days. It's a buyers market for humans, you don't have to build your own.
posted by benzenedream at 4:12 PM on April 6, 2011


I look forward to the day I can replace any part of myself like switching out batteries. I will live forever!

Only if "Organ failure due to age" isn't considered a pre-existing condition.

Death panels: only bad if it's socialist!
posted by yeloson at 4:18 PM on April 6, 2011


ORIGIN OF SPECIES

Well, Eve told Adam Snakes? I've had 'em!
Let's get outta here! And go raise this family someplace outta town.
They left the garden just in time With the landlord cussin' right behind.
They headed East,and finally settled down.

One thing led to another:A bunch of sons,one killed his brother
They kicked him out with nothin' but his clothes.
The human race survives'cause all his brothers all found wives
But where they came from ain't nobody knows.

Then came the flood,go figure...Just like New Orleans only bigger.
No one who couldn't swim would make it through.
The lucky ones were on a boat-think "circus"and then make it float
I hope nobody pulls the plug on you!

How they fed that crowd is a mystery.It ain't down in the history,
but it's a cinch they didn't live on cakes and jam.
Lions don't eat cabbage and in spite of that old adage,
You will never see one lyin'down with a lamb.

Well, Charlie Darwin looked so far into the way things are.
He caught a glimpse of God's unfolding plan.
God said: "I'll make some DNA" They can use it any way they want
From paramecia right up to man."

"They'll have sex and mix up sections of their code
They'll have mutations...The whole thing works like clockwork over time."
"I'll just sit back in the shade While everyone gets laid.
That's what I call intelligent design."

Yeah, you and your cat named Felix,you both wrapped up in that double helix,
Is what we call intelligent design.

-Chris Smither

watch here
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:19 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Very cool. Would be curious to know how much of the biochem is worked out, or whether it's one of those things where you "put cells in X, Y and Z, and then see what happens."
posted by davidng at 4:50 PM on April 6, 2011


Well, there goes that intelligent design debate about eyes being too complicated to have evolved.

Because eyes don't normally develop from stem cells?
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:06 PM on April 6, 2011


Carl approved
posted by dirigibleman at 5:10 PM on April 6, 2011


Yeah, there is plenty of evidence for evolution out there but this is not it, at least not any more than normal developmental biology. Still cool though.
posted by teraflop at 5:18 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


If only you could see what I've seen with your eyes.
posted by homunculus at 5:23 PM on April 6, 2011


Personally, I'd settle for new teeth.
How about an eye made from a tooth?
posted by delmoi at 11:25 PM on April 6, 2011


Damn, delmoi beat me to it. Regardless, this is awesome.
posted by arcticseal at 5:56 AM on April 7, 2011


Maybe I'm the only one, and maybe i'm not science-y enough.....but how exactly are we supposed to know this is an eye? It just looks like a blob of cells to me.
posted by drewski at 6:40 AM on April 7, 2011


Maybe I'm the only one, and maybe i'm not science-y enough.....but how exactly are we supposed to know this is an eye? It just looks like a blob of cells to me.

From the video link: "Time-lapse films of mouse embryonic stem cells spontaneously organising into a rudimentary eye (a fluorescent green stain reveals the location of retinal precursor tissue in the top sequence)"
posted by Bonky Moon at 9:40 PM on April 8, 2011


Appeals Court OKs Fed Funding of Embryonic-Stem-Cell Research
posted by homunculus at 11:01 AM on April 30, 2011


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