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HHMI BioInteractive: Cultured Embryonic Stem Cells

by Pearson
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DOUG MELTON: It's an example where human embryonic stem cells are grown in a culture dish. And we remove the factors that allow them to self-renew, and they now spontaneously differentiate. Could I have the next video, please? And what you'll see here is that these cells, in some cases, spontaneously make beating muscle. Cardiocytes. That is the muscle, just like in your heart. Now, of course, here we're seeing four examples of that. You see that they beat at slightly different rates. And obviously, they're not organized into anything like your heart. Your heart-- which Nadia will be talking about-- is about the size of your fist. This is a tiny little group of cells, thousands of cells in a Petri dish. But it does raise the interesting question of how did these cells know what to do? How did they make this decision to become cardiomyocytes? What steps were involved? What were the signals that they received, perhaps from their neighbors? What I'd like to leave you with then, today, is this fact that embryonic stem cells can make all cell types. How do they do that? We don't know how they do that. But it's an exciting problem, because it will teach us something about normal development. And it also has the potential to treat diseases where cells are missing. And I'll be talking more about that tomorrow.
DOUG MELTON: It's an example where human embryonic stem cells are grown in a culture dish. And we remove the factors that allow them to self-renew, and they now spontaneously differentiate. Could I have the next video, please? And what you'll see here is that these cells, in some cases, spontaneously make beating muscle. Cardiocytes. That is the muscle, just like in your heart. Now, of course, here we're seeing four examples of that. You see that they beat at slightly different rates. And obviously, they're not organized into anything like your heart. Your heart-- which Nadia will be talking about-- is about the size of your fist. This is a tiny little group of cells, thousands of cells in a Petri dish. But it does raise the interesting question of how did these cells know what to do? How did they make this decision to become cardiomyocytes? What steps were involved? What were the signals that they received, perhaps from their neighbors? What I'd like to leave you with then, today, is this fact that embryonic stem cells can make all cell types. How do they do that? We don't know how they do that. But it's an exciting problem, because it will teach us something about normal development. And it also has the potential to treat diseases where cells are missing. And I'll be talking more about that tomorrow.