A team of bioengineers have taken cells from a rat's heart and used them to create a 'Franken-jelly'.
To create the creatures, scientists arranged the rat's heart cells on a piece of rubbery silicon and applied an electrical charge. The jellyfish look and move like the real thing, each pumping water in and out of its body as it swims around. It is hoped that the research will help to advance the field of artificial hearts and other organs.
Bioengineers Kevin Kit Parker and John Dabiri aimed to 'copy nature' when they set out to build the jellyfish and the motto seems to have worked. "Some engineers build things out of concrete, copper and steel - we build things out of cells," said 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.
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