Jellyfish can help detect heart disease?


Could we make a jellyfish using mouse DNA? “Morphically it’s a jellyfish, functionally it’s a jellyfish, but genetically it’s a mouse,” said Kit Parker, a biophysicist at Harvard University who co-authored the study. This is what he said about the jellyfish cyborg he created in an interview with Nature magazine: Parker’s team reverse-engineered the biological form and function of jellyfish, which required hierarchical design over several orders of magnitude in space and time.

Parker’s lab is working on creating artificial models of human heart tissue for organ regeneration and drug testing. Jelly is an ideal animal to study when trying to find new ways to solve heart problems. At a basic level, the jelly functions similar to the human heart, using muscles to pump water.

According to the authors of the report that first published Nature Biotechnology, titled “Tissue-engineered jellyfish with biomimetic propulsion,” their technology could ultimately harvest cells from a single organism and We plan to rearrange it so that it can be used for various purposes. Bioengineered products for human use. For example, consider a cardiac pacemaker without a battery.

In the case of “medusoids,” Harvard researchers leverage recent advances in mechanistic understanding of biosynthetic compound materials, computer-aided design approaches in molecular synthetic biology, traditional soft robotics, and even cells that facilitate We took advantage of our improved ability to generate structural and chemical microenvironments. Self-organization. This combination facilitated important enhancements in our ability to reproduce the hierarchical structure of engineered biological systems.

This breakthrough shows that it is not enough to imitate nature; it is important to focus on function. “Jellyfish provide design algorithms to reverse engineer organ function and develop quantitative design and performance specifications,” Parker said in an interview. The same overall design strategy can also be applied to the reverse engineering of the human body’s muscular organs.

California Institute of Technology graduate student Gianna Narrows conducted most of the experiments. She started by mapping every cell in the body of a juvenile moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita). This is how she learned how moon jellyfish swim.



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