July 25, 2009

Tiny iPS mice

A triple keyPractical Ethics: A tiny step forward - I blog about whether the induced pluripotent stem cells that recently were used to produce complete mice should be regarded as embryos.

I am pretty impressed by the tricks used in this process. Viral inclusion of genes whose overexpression is needed for pluripotency, making tetraploid embryos that become placentas etc - a lot of it is pretty science fictional, but relatively standard (if, given the failure rate, shaky) protocols. There is a surprising amount of hidden science behind every headline result - consider the tricky math of trajectory planning for spacecraft, the complex software and numerical methods used in large-scale simulations, the data processing of astronomy. Each discipline contains a hidden mountain of practice that constitutes a majority of its findings - often unpublished, informal and yet essential.

Posted by Anders3 at July 25, 2009 05:25 PM