This Tadpole Can See Out Of An Eye Transplanted Onto Its ButtYes, you read that right. Researchers at Tufts University have found that an ectopic eye transplanted near the tail of a tadpole -- an eye that has no direct connection to the animal's brain -- will still let the animal see. It's the first time that researchers have observed a vertebrate that can demonstrate vision through a non-traditional, implanted eye, and the implications for bioengineering could be impressive. The results suggest that we could one day develop literal working eyes in the back of our head -- or in our palms, like the Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth. You know, if you're into that sort of thing.Read on...
Flesh-Spearing Porcupine Quills Could Inspire The Needles Of The FutureWhen researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston went looking for the future of jamming a sharp thing inside of you, they looked to a creature that has built it's reputation -- and ensured its survival -- by delivering sharp pokes for millions of years: the porcupine. By analyzing the unique geometry of porcupine spines, they're unraveling the secrets of why it's so easy to get one of the sharp spines to puncture flesh, and so hard to remove it. They're hoping those lessons could result in more effective needles that could enter the body with less force and seal the wounds they leave on their way out, reducing the possibility of infections.Read on...
Scientists Turn Mammalian Cells Into Biological “Cell Phones”Researchers in Switzerland have applied the principles behind cellular communication to mammalian cells. By reprogramming the cells with a specialized series of genes and proteins that allow for two-way communication, researchers have crafted cells that can talk to one another, sending messages via chemical signals rather than electronic transmission. The hope is that this two-way communication system can be harnessed to fight cancer, overriding orders sent by tumors with preprogrammed messages sent from other cells.Read on...