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Surprising Science

Researchers Developed a Mouse Muscle Resistant to Venom

Good news for mice! Bad news for cobras. Researchers have engineered the strongest constructed muscle yet–ten times stronger than all previous attempts, and successfully implanted it into mice. It’s so tough that it can even resist cobra venom; yes, this is something that the researchers at Duke University tested. 

The Verge has more:

To engineer the tissue, scientists mixed gelatin-like hydrogel matrix with cells from newborn mice called progenitor cells. These cells can take on many different forms, but have lost the ability to replicate indefinitely the way stem cells can. The mixture was then cast in small cylindrical molds and grown for two weeks, until the cells aligned and differentiated into strong muscle fibers. “To our delight, the engineered muscle was more than 10 times stronger than the best previously published efforts,” says Nenad Bursac, a biomedical engineer at Duke University and co-author of the study, “and its strength was similar to that of native muscle tissues.”

But researchers also wanted to make sure the muscle could heal itself, so they injected it with cobra venom — venom that causes muscle membranes to rupture after just 30 minutes. According the Bursac, the engineered muscle was able to fully self-regenerate even after sustaining significant damage, thanks to the pool of functional progenitor cells it contained

To read more about the findings, head over to The Verge

Image credit: Shutterstock


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