Scientists Grow Human Muscle in a Dish

Researchers from Duke University have grown fully functional human muscle in the laboratory from tissue called myogenic precursor cells. The muscle contracts when stimulated, which allows scientists to test the effects of drugs and nutrients on muscle function. In the future, physicians will be able to use the technique to determine optimal drug doses for treating muscle diseases. The researchers are also using stem cells to grow muscle in the lab, which would allow muscle transplants. Using the procedure with beef, pork and chicken, muscle would also produce a food source without the need for ranchers and farmers. (The Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2015; eLife, published online January 9, 2015)

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