An amazing new development has come out of Harvard University. A synthetic jellyfish made from heart cells derived from a rat. This “medusoid” can swim like a jellyfish and will pulse when subjected to an electrical field. Check out the video:
This was built by first mapping the cellular structure of moon jellies. Then recreating this structure by placing heart cells on a sheet of polydimethylsiloxane. This approach to synthetic life is different from normal, because the scientist did not modulate the animal’s genetic composition. This study used the pre-existing genes to create a jellyfish’s morphology and function, whereas usually genes are added to produce changes in morphology and function.
Apart from being a scientist new ’must have’ lab pet. The hope for this medusoid is to improve testing of new drugs. For example you have just developed a new heart drug, all you need to do is test it upon the jellyfish and see how it’s pumping changes.
The whole thing for me is mind blowing. It is a true example of how powerful of our understanding of life systems is. How are we going to move on from here? If you’d asked me if this were possible I would of said no, however this has adjusted the playing field. What new synthetic animals are going to be able to create? How will this effect our ability to test different hypothesis and garner further information on how the human body works. However, you could also say, it is just scientists having fun and it doesn’t actually add any ‘real value’ to science? But it is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in science? Has anyone else seen anything better? I would love to know, please let me know!