Thursday, December 20, 2018

Rogue Organs

            Headline: “Lab-grown organs ‘go rogue’ and develop BRAIN and MUSCLE cells”

Miniature kidneys, created and grown in laboratory test tubes, suddenly started forming brain and muscle cells recently. The kidney “organoids” began behaving in a completely unexpected way, the Daily Star reported, as scientists expected them to form different kinds of kidney cells. (That seems like a reasonable assumption, I must admit). “Experts” believe that the study’s findings imply that the method used by researchers is actually creating other types of cells. That is a pretty good assumption, since that is exactly what occurred. Thanks, experts!
Benjamin Humphreys, the director of the Division of Nephrology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said scientists haven’t really learned that organoid cells may not mirror the behavior of human cells and therefore may produce different results. Thanks, Dr. Humphreys, for that cogent analysis of what obviously transpired if the reports are accurate. He stated that he believes somewhere between 10 and 20 per cent of the cells in the experiment missed their cue to develop into kidney cells but added that slight tweaks should make it possible to block the rogue cells from sprouting.
Missed their cue?! We’re not talking about an actress who was late to her lines. What we need to learn is that we shouldn’t be playing God and attempting to create life from scratch by playing around with genetic material, Bunsen burners and test tubes. We should no longer be surprised if one day we walk into the lab to find out that what we thought would be a nice little Chia Pet of a kidney grew a brain, sprouted arms like Popeye, smashed the laboratory’s window, and sidled off to Chick-fil-a for a bite to eat.  

“Something wrong, Dr. Frankenstein?”

“No! There’s nothing to see here!”

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