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Does this mean we could make a "bat" man?
December 12, 2005 8:54 PM   Subscribe

Holy Chimera - Fred Gage has spliced human brain cells into mice.
posted by sourbrew (33 comments total)

 
So?
posted by nightchrome at 9:05 PM on December 12, 2005


I, for one, welcome our hybrid mouse-human overlords.
posted by nmiell at 9:13 PM on December 12, 2005


I WILL BREED THE SMARTEST MOUSE IN THE WORLD!

No, really, what's impressive is the idea that stem cells can be differentiated into usable cells by the mouse's brain (and by extention, in theory, our brains), whereas previously all differentiation had to be done in lab cultures.
posted by klangklangston at 9:14 PM on December 12, 2005


nightchrome,

why do you have to be such a negative Nancy

In all fairness, it got hard after be.... still come on guy... possible ethical concerns, problems with law in the us... this is a loaded topic, rife with possible interpretations and ramifications.
posted by sourbrew at 9:16 PM on December 12, 2005


klangklangston : "that stem cells can be differentiated into usable cells"

There is a theory that a stem cell is a state rather than an entity.
posted by Gyan at 9:25 PM on December 12, 2005


What are we going to do tonight, Brain?
posted by redbeard at 9:27 PM on December 12, 2005


The same thing we do every night, my brothers. Try to take over the world.

For Awesome.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 9:30 PM on December 12, 2005


Back in your cage, PEA.
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:31 PM on December 12, 2005


You know, the only reason reporters seize on this story is that it beckons the mind to leap toward creepy imagery. It's disgusting. The whole news hook on this is the "ewww!" factor. It's childish and stupid. Let's leave that to the journalists.
posted by scarabic at 9:39 PM on December 12, 2005


This is going to be the best way of learning about brain disease EVER.

I'm actually kind of excited.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:46 PM on December 12, 2005


Okay I forgot the whole neurologists-hard-on angle.

But I think it likely isn't on the editors' minds, either.
posted by scarabic at 9:52 PM on December 12, 2005


I'll be sure to save them a space underneath my rose bush.
posted by rockabilly_pete at 9:53 PM on December 12, 2005


Build a better mouse....
posted by ParisParamus at 9:53 PM on December 12, 2005


This is going to be the best way of learning about brain disease EVER.

I get the feeling there will be too many structural differences between this and a real human brain that drug testing won't be all that much more improved. For one, not many of the stem cells survive and, secondly, only differentiate into specific cell types. It's a start, though.
posted by Rothko at 10:01 PM on December 12, 2005


sourbrew, why do you have to be such a nosy busybody? I suspect similar reasons.
posted by nightchrome at 10:09 PM on December 12, 2005


wait a minute...

if they can make rodent brains fly aircraft...

does this mean that disembodied human brains will now make pilots obsolete?

DISCUSS.
posted by neckro23 at 10:14 PM on December 12, 2005


As cells are added... at what point are the mice owed union benefits?
posted by soyjoy at 10:15 PM on December 12, 2005


Of Mice and Men? Flowers for Algernon.
posted by stbalbach at 10:16 PM on December 12, 2005


I get the feeling there will be too many structural differences between this and a real human brain that drug testing won't be all that much more improved.

Well, the targets are not structural but biochemical. Those should be (more or less) exactly the same in the human-in-rat-brain cells as in the human-in-human-brain cells.
So, yeah, it's kinda critical.

That said, this stuff is way over my head. I work in flies, which are a teensy weensy bit smaller.
posted by metaculpa at 10:36 PM on December 12, 2005


(That first sentence is Rothko's.)
posted by metaculpa at 10:36 PM on December 12, 2005


Narf!
posted by kosher_jenny at 10:38 PM on December 12, 2005


Naturally, the first NIMH town will be in California.
posted by ScotchLynx at 10:38 PM on December 12, 2005


Let's cure brain diseases by passing them into other species.
posted by gunthersghost at 11:08 PM on December 12, 2005


Ben, the two of us need look no more.
posted by maxsparber at 11:15 PM on December 12, 2005


Looks like the were-rabbit is the least of our fears.
posted by randomstriker at 11:26 PM on December 12, 2005


This thread needs more Douglas Adams quotes.
posted by seanyboy at 11:54 PM on December 12, 2005


I get the impression that some of these reporters/editors think that you could build a computer by shovelling wires into a shoe box and shaking it a bit...
posted by agent at 12:21 AM on December 13, 2005


I get the impression that some of these reporters/editors think that you could build a computer by shovelling wires into a shoe box and shaking it a bit...

No no no no no - you need an intelligent designer for something as complex as that
posted by bunglin jones at 12:50 AM on December 13, 2005


Can anyone point me toward qualitative differences between mouse neurons and human neurons? Poking around found me this (summary: UC Irvine group uses stem cells to alleviate paralysis in mice; I think the work was mentioned in one of the FPP links), but it's not clear whether mouse stem cells would be equally capable. Basically, I'm just rubbed wrong by the objection that this research could accidentally create a human mind. I've gotten the general impression that human intelligence is mostly due to the number and arrangement of neurons, not the neurons themselves. If that's the case, then planting human neurons in a mouse brain is a bit like adding a different brand of wiring, and not at all like making a mouse brain more "human".
posted by agent at 1:08 AM on December 13, 2005


Redbeard wins.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:39 AM on December 13, 2005


This thread needs more Douglas Adams quotes.

The mice were furious.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:02 AM on December 13, 2005


Burn him! He's a witch! Burrrrrrn him!!! It's against God!!

Actually, that's entirely cool. I'm not seeing anything on how it would treat neurodegenerative disorders tho'. Basic research on structure?
posted by Smedleyman at 6:17 AM on December 13, 2005


This sounds like the plot to a really lame sequel to Deep Blue Sea.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:29 AM on December 13, 2005


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