Scientists Grow New Frog Eyes From Stem Cells
Supporters of the stem cell approach got a big boost from new research at the SUNY Upstate Medical University, in Syracuse, NY. Researcher Michael Zuber and his colleagues report that by taking stem cells from frog eggs, they’re able to prod the cells to grow into eyes when attached to tadpoles, baby frogs.
In order to get the cells to become eyes, the team genetically modified them, inserting transcription factors (proteins that trigger expression of other genes) which are known to regulate eye growth and development.
The scientists then implanted the cells into tadpoles missing an eye. The cells properly developed and differentiated into all seven types of retinal cells and appeared to have the proper structure. Additionally the new eye attached properly to the brain. In swimming tests the eye was shown to be working as implanted tadpoles only swam to the white side of the tank (normal behavior), while blind ones would also swim to the black side of the tank.