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Science & Technology

Scientists create artificial fish that swim using human heart cells

February 17, 2022 | Comment icon 9 comments

Image Credit: Michael Rosnach, Keel Yong Lee, Sung-Jin Park, Kevin Kit Parker
The synthetic fish were able to swim around autonomously using the contractions of the muscle tissue.
The remarkable Frankenstein-esque fish were built by a team of scientists from Harvard University using paper, gelatin and two layers of human cardiac muscle tissue - one on each side.

The fish were able to glide through the water on their own without any additional source of external propulsion thanks to the stretching and contraction of the heart tissue.

A special node was added to act like a pacemaker and control the rhythm and frequency.

Incredibly, the fish continued to swim for 108 days - the equivalent of 308 million beats.

"It's a training exercise," said senior author and Harvard bioengineer Kit Parker.
"Ultimately, I want to build a heart for a sick kid."

"The really interesting thing about these fish, which we weren't expecting, is how long they would swim and how fast they would swim in the dish."

The experiment represents a significant step forward in the development of artificial hearts for transplant patients and could one day go on to help save countless lives.

According to Parker, the idea came to him when he spotted a jellyfish during a visit to an aquarium.

"I'm looking at it, and thinking, 'It pumps, it looks like a heart pump,'" he said.

"I'm thinking, 'I could build that damn thing.'"

Source: Smithsonian Magazine | Comments (9)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Jon the frog 4 months ago
Franken fish !
Comment icon #2 Posted by NCC1701 4 months ago
Batteries not included.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Seti42 4 months ago
Batteries not needed.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Occupational Hubris 4 months ago
Comment icon #5 Posted by AnthonyS 4 months ago
Comment icon #6 Posted by qxcontinuum 4 months ago
That was the heart of someone who felt joy sadness , laughter and cry, possible a mother, father son or daughter. This is blasphemy nothing different than the experiments made by nazies in the 2nd war
Comment icon #7 Posted by onlookerofmayhem 4 months ago
So what? People donate their bodies to science all the time. What's the problem if it can potentially help millions of people? They didn't steal a body from a morgue or go digging in a cemetery. That is patently absurd. "Our ultimate goal is to build anartificial heartto replace a malformed heart in a child," said Kit Parker, the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and senior author of the paper.
Comment icon #8 Posted by qxcontinuum 4 months ago
Doesn't matter the purpose. It's still someone's heart directed and used tu play with as they play with strings
Comment icon #9 Posted by taniwha 4 months ago
I wouldn't want a fish heart flipping and flopping in my chest

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