Stem Cell

Tiny Breathing Plant Mouths

Publication: HHMI Bulletin   Date: May 1, 2012   View Article

When Keiko Torii gazed through the microscope at a mutant Arabidopsis thaliana leaf covered in specialized cells called meristemoids, she saw more than a beautiful anatomic anomaly—she saw a new way to probe a fundamental system in developmental biology.

Meristemoids are stem-cell-like precursors that give rise to a pair of guard cells, which form stomata—tiny pores on the skin of almost all land plants that are crucial for the exchange of water vapor and gas during photosynthesis. Close study of meristemoids has largely eluded scientists because the cells, by nature, are transient and few and far between.

“When I looked at this,” Torii says, pointing to a poster-size image of the mutant leaf with a tightly packed honeycomb of DayGlo blue meristemoids hanging on her office wall at the University of Washington, “I thought maybe this could be an economical tool to study what makes a meristemoid a meristemoid.”

Tiny tweezers help fat fingers do nimble tasks

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 18, 2012   View Article

Ever wish you had teeny tiny tweezers to pull a teeny tiny splinter from your pinky?

You’re in luck.

Researchers have developed easy-to-use “microtweezers” that are up to the task, and much more, such as plucking a cluster of stem cells from a petri dish and building all sorts of little mechanical devices.

Liposuction Fat Turned Into Stem Cells, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 8, 2009   View Article

Using leftovers from liposuction patients, scientists have turned human fat into stem cells, a new study says.

The new method is much more efficient than a previous practice that used skin cells, researchers say.

Stem Cell Breakthrough: No More Need to Destroy Embryos?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 23, 2005   View Article

Scientists have turned an ordinary skin cell into what appears to be an embryonic stem cell. The process may eventually eliminate the controversial step of destroying human embryos for stem cell research.

The new technique involves fusing a skin cell with an existing, laboratory-grown embryonic stem cell. The fused, or hybrid, cell is “reprogrammed” to its embryonic state, Harvard University scientists report in the journal Science.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach