Stem cells could be key to osteoporosis treatment

Aging stem cells might hold clues for treating osteoporosis, according to new research. As we get old, our bones become weak and brittle, so even a minor bump could cause a broken bone. In Australia, over 900,000 people – almost 4% of the population – have osteoporosis, a condition common among the elderly that causes bones to … Continue reading Stem cells could be key to osteoporosis treatment

No ovaries required: viable eggs grown in a dish

Scientists have successfully coaxed mouse stem cells to develop into functional eggs in a dish – that then grew into baby mice, according to a study published in Developmental Biology. This has wide implications for assisted reproductive technologies in the future, because it may provide an alternative to egg donors. A team of researchers, led … Continue reading No ovaries required: viable eggs grown in a dish

Tear glands cry in a dish

A team of researchers, led by Marie Bannier-Hélaouët of the Hubrecht Institute in the Netherlands, has developed organoids that swell up with tears in a petri dish, modelled on tear glands. This video shows a human organoid, based on tear glands, swelling (i.e. crying) upon the addition of adrenaline. Credit: Marie Bannier-Hélaouët, Hubrecht Institute. The … Continue reading Tear glands cry in a dish

Grown bone

Put away your Skele-gro, because growing new bones might be the realm of science, not magic. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology and Radboud University Medical Center, in The Netherlands, have grown the most life-like piece of bone tissue to date, using human stem cells. “With this, we present, for the first time, the full … Continue reading Grown bone

Inside Biology’s Black Box

This article from the March issue of Cosmos has been shortlisted for the 2020 Eureka Prize for Long-Form Science Journalism. The prize will be announced November 24. A new device for bioengineering embryo-like structures is shedding fresh light on those earliest, most mysterious – and largely unobservable – moments of human development. Great leaps forward … Continue reading Inside Biology’s Black Box

Human embryo model created from stem cells

British and Dutch scientists have developed a model to study early human development that uses human embryonic stem cells. Writing in the journal Nature, they say it resembles some key elements of an embryo at around 18 to 21 days old and allows researchers to observe the processes underlying the formation of the human body … Continue reading Human embryo model created from stem cells

Inside biology’s black box

I count six little ziggurats side by side, stolid and squat and obviously man-made. They are not going anywhere, but in between them things are on the move. Circles of dots have begun to roil and rotate, angry blimps rising up  among the static trapezoids, their contents swirling in a frenzy of disorder. Then, in … Continue reading Inside biology’s black box