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Surprising Science

Stem Cells Grow Artificial Eyeballs

Embryonic stem cells growing in a dish can spontaneously form complex structures resembling the retina—a discovery that could one day help restore sight to the blind.

“A clump of mouse embryonic stem cells can self-organize into three-dimensional structures reminiscent of the retina in the early stages of embryonic development,” according to a new study published in Nature. What was especially astounding about the research is that the cells were not manipulated in any way to take the shape of organ. This suggests that the shape for organs is internally programmed into stem cells. “Researchers believe this process could one day serve as a source of cells to transplant into diseased and damaged retinas—a potential way to restore sight to the blind.”


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