Science has made some incredible breakthroughs in the past century. It’s easy to argue that the medicine and biological engineering sectors have been the biggest contributors and beneficiaries.
Progress requires researchers to innovate new solutions to age-old problems. Behind every medical discovery, there’s a laboratory full of fascinating ideas. Check out these interesting lab-grown items that you probably didn’t expect to exist.
Mouse Growing A Human Ear
Scientists at the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University successfully grew an adult sized- ear on the back of a mouse. They were able to do it using stem cells and hope they can begin human trials in five years.
I’m thinking this mouse is wondering why it can’t hear the same stuff its peers are hearing.
The first lab-grown burger made its public debut in London in 2013. It was created in the Netherlands with the goal of producing meat without animal suffering.
The project took five years and over $300,000. This meat isn’t expected to be public until the year 2021. But, some companies are looking to get their product on shelves before that.
Scientists at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan were able to grow skin tissue with hair follicles in their lab.
Afterward, they were able to transplant it to mice. This could mean that patients with severely burnt skin could benefit, or other people needing new skin. That’s ballin’.
A group of scientists at the Salk Institute successfully grew human cells inside a pig embryo. The goal was to eventually grow human organs that could be used for transplants.
There has been some ethical questions about this kind of experiment. The US stopped funding interspecies chimera research like this.
Honestly, this could be so beneficial to anyone who drinks liquid and then immediately has to relieve themselves.
Scientists at Wake Forest University School Of Medicine took cells from a malfunctioning bladder of seven children and used them to grow sacs of tissue. Afterward, they grafted the artificial organs on to patient’s bladders.
Infertility has life-changing consequences. Scientists were able to grow human eggs to total maturity in a lab, meaning that technically they could be fertilized.
This could mean that the whole infertility problem could be fixed. The number of people with infertility problems is only increasing, so this could be revolutionary.
A scientist at Stanford University has kept a mini brain alive for years. It comes in at a whopping four milli-meters in diameter and was grown from stem cells.
The lab-grown brain does not have blood vessels or white blood cells and it doesn’t follow neurodevelopment patterns. It stopped maturing at the equivalent of the first trimester.
Researchers have come up with a way to grow coral in a test tube by collecting sex cells from the island of Curacao. Coral has been significantly on the decline the past three decades.
In fact, if you look at the Caribbean alone, it’s lost nearly 80% of its coral.
Apples And Human Ears
A Canadian biophysicist and his team at the University of Ottawa successfully grew a human tissue using an apple. Yes, you read that correctly.
Using a decellularization technique to remove cells from the apple, they were only left with the cellulose afterward. They injected the cell-free piece of apple with human cells and cut it into a human ear shape. The cells populated the structure and created the outer part of the ear.
The Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences produced viable mouse sperm from stem cells. They extracted stem cells from mice and introduced them to testicular cells from newborn mice.
After about two weeks, the scientists developed fully functioning sperm cells. Nine mouse pups were born from this experiment once the cells were implanted into a female.
I just think this picture of a rabbit with two piglets is cuter than one of rabbit genitals. In 2008, a scientist at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine gave some rabbits lab-grown penises.
Of the 12 rabbits with lab-grown wangs, four of them ended up successfully having offspring.
Japanese researchers discovered a bacteria that can literally eat plastic. Well, if we want to get specific, it’s polythylene terephthalate.
With this discovery, they’re hopeful that they can mass produce a bacteria that would end up significantly reducing plastic waste around the world. It could almost entirely end pollution on and off land.
The same team that brought you the rabbit penis at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine also grew human vaginas.
They implanted four teenagers in Mexico who had a disorder that caused them to be born without genitals. All of the women report to have fully functioning lady-parts years after the surgeries were done.
This one is kind of gross, to be honest. A scientist in Soviet Russia in 1954 performed 23 surgeries to transplant a dog’s head.
They were successful in keeping the dogs alive and attached to each other. They only lived for a month before passing away. This just wouldn’t fly ethically anymore.
Blood Stem Cell
This is one of the more recent lab findings. But, in 2017, scientists successfully grew stem cells needed to produce blood. The possibilities are endless if we can create blood in a lab.
It could treat diseases like leukaemia and there would be enough blood made to have full transfusions. It would be revolutionary.
This shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise that leather is usually made from cowhide. With that being said, there’s a company called Modern Meadow that announced they were growing leather in a lab without cows.
They grow a strain of yeast that produces collagen, which is essentially what gives the leather its tough elastic quality.
Researchers have been growing mammary glands in a petri dish to conduct breast cancer research.
They take cultured breast cells and grow their own in a transparent gel. Out of the research, they were able to uncover that mammary gland growth is exploited by tumor progression. This is great news if you ask me.
Researchers at Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden were able to grow a human trachea from stem cells.
Not only that, but they were able to transplant it into a cancer patient who had a tumor blocking his airway. That is absolutely incredible. They were able to literally replace someone’s throat and do it successfully.
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital made headlines in 2015 when they grew a rat forelimb in their lab.
It also resulted in a working muscle tissue after only 16 days. It was the first successful project of its kind in the world. The effort was led by a man named Dr. Harold Ott.
Can we just say that mosquitos are the worst insect of all time? They do nothing good for humanity. The last thing I’d want to study as a scientist is this bug.
But, America has approved of mosquitos grown in labs specifically designed to carry a bacteria that kills other mosquitos that carry diseases like Zika and dengue. So, I guess that’s good.
Scientists at Abertay University in Scotland discovered a way to grow some small beating hearts in their labs. This was done with the use of stem cells, and they grew them to an astounding one millimeter.
It was used to find ways to treat heart hypertrophy. Thank God for science, woo.
Diesel Fuel Making Bacteria
In 2013, scientists at the University of Exeter found a way to make diesel fuel from the E.coli bacteria. Can you imagine driving a car that’s solely powered from E.coli?
That would be so bizarre. What makes this creation and experiment even better is that the diesel is totally made up from the bacteria and not petroleum products.
You might be surprised to find out that clothing has, in fact, been made in a lab as well. A United Kingdom company called Bioculture started developing clothes from basic kitchen ingredients like sugar.
These clothes are fully compostable so you can throw it in the trash with the rest of your food scraps.
You might be surprised how many diamonds are actually grown in a lab and not found in a mine. Many lab-grown diamonds are easily masked as naturally grown and have been seen on shelves of big diamond sellers.
They have the same chemical and physical properties as a real diamond. A great example of a diamond simulant is Cubic Zirconia, Moissanite and White Topaz.
Researchers in the US successfully implanted lab engineered bones into 14 Yucatan mini-pigs. Not a single pig rejected the organs after surgery.
The blood vessels inside the lab-grown bones integrated seamlessly into the circulatory system. The entire process resulted in a fully-functional living bone structure. That’s absolutely incredible to think about.
A lab-grown brain the size of a pencil eraser was cultivated from skin cells by Ohio State university scientists.
The organoid has functioning neurons with signal carrying extensions like axons and dendrites. If that means nothing to you, basically it just means it’s semi-function. It’s similar to a fetal brain, I guess.
A team of Australian scientists grew a minikidney, differentiating stem cells to form an organ with the three distinct kidney cells for the first time.
They grew the organoid in a process that followed normal kidney development. So, I guess this kidney is perfect for your Barbie Doll collection. Fits fantastically.
Look, we all need our caffeine fix. Coffee is a big component of that. I don’t care where my coffee is coming from as long as it allows me to get through the day without killing a co-worker.
The company Afineur is growing rich coffee flavors from yeast cultures. Lab coffee beans sound VERY enticing.
Honestly, if I can eat a food product that tastes like chicken but isn’t actually chicken — I’m all in.
Memphis Meats is all over it. They developed this fake-chicken through cultured cells from the bird producing what they call “clean poultry”. While they didn’t get rave reviews in the taste category, I like where this is headed.
You may have seen the product Just Mayo at Costco or Dollar Tree. Hampton Creek created a mayonnaise that has all lab-made ingredients.
It’s becoming a big trend in the whole foods sector that there is no worker exploitation involved in the creation of a food product. I guess laboratories are the natural next step.