ROCHESTER, N.Y. –Researchers at the University of Rochester in New York are using fetal cells to create a “supermouse” with a half-human brain in order to study human diseases of the brain and find cures for those ailments.
The research, which is now raising ethical questions, involves injecting cells from unborn babies into the brain tissue of baby mice.
“Researchers took the immature glial cells from donated human fetuses and injected them into mouse pups,” the New Scientist reports. “The cells developed into star-shaped glial cells known as astrocytes. 300,000 human cells were injected into each mouse, but 12 months later that number had increased to 12 million. The mouse’s own glial cells had been driven out by human astrocytes which are up to 20 times larger than those in mice.”
It is not known whether the “donated human fetuses” had been aborted or miscarried.
The injection resulted in the creation of smarter mice as compared to ordinary lab mice as the cells assist with memory retention. Scientists compared the outcome to “ramping up” the memory of one’s computer.
Written by Heather Clark
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