Thursday, May 26, 2011
How to make a human neuron : Nature News: "Those three genes also made human cells that looked like nerve cells but that did not fire the electric pulses characteristic of neurons. However, the addition of a fourth virus-delivered gene, found through trial and error, pushed fibroblast cells — connective tissue cells found throughout the body and involved in wound healing — collected from aborted fetuses and the foreskin of newborns to become bona fide neurons. After a couple of weeks in culture, many of the neurons responded to electric jolts by pumping ions across their membranes. A few weeks later still, these neurons started to form connections, or synapses, with the mouse neurons they were grown alongside."