Xenobots: Will They Be Friend or Foe or Both?

1
708
A "living machine" containing frog stem cells in a new configuration designed by a computer algorithm. Parts shown in green are made up of frog skin cells, while parts in red are frog heart cells. (Kriegman et al., PNAS, 2020)

Scientists Assemble Frog Stem Cells Into First ‘Living Machines’

by Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonianmag.com

In Michael Levin’s laboratory at Tufts University, cells can expect to find themselves in unusual company.

Here, the precursors of frog skin sidle up to cells that, in another life, might have helped an amphibian’s heartbeat. They’re perfect strangers: biological entities that, up until this point, had no business being together. And yet, Levin and his colleagues have found that skin cells and heart cells can be coaxed into coalescing. Placed side by side, they will self-organize into intricate, three-dimensional mosaics of frog cells that aren’t actually frogs.

Designed by a computer algorithm and surgically shaped by human hands, these skin-heart hybrids, each roughly the size of a grain of sand, don’t resemble anything found in nature. But the tasks they accomplish are eerily familiar: Without any external input, they can zoom around Petri dishes, push microscopic objects to and fro, and even stitch themselves back together after being cut.

Levin calls these clusters of cells a “new form of life”—one that’s not quite an organism and not quite a machine, but perhaps somewhere in between. Named “xenobots” in honor of the Xenopus laevis African clawed frogs from which their cells derive…

Read Full Article on SmithsonianMag.com

Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013
ATTENTION READERS
Due to the nature of independent content, VT cannot guarantee content validity.
We ask you to Read Our Content Policy so a clear comprehension of VT's independent non-censored media is understood and given its proper place in the world of news, opinion and media.

All content is owned by author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images within are full responsibility of author and NOT VT.

About VT - Read Full Policy Notice - Comment Policy

1 COMMENT

Comments are closed.