See Inside Scientific American Volume 307, Issue 5

How to Grow a Retina from Stem Cells

Biologists have coaxed cells to form a retina, a step toward growing replacement organs outside the body

More In This Article

In the womb, a ball of identical cells gives rise to varied cell types that ultimately form highly ordered structures and then the full panoply of organs in the human body. The process advances according to an internal biological script that directs each fold and crease of tissue to assume exactly the proper shape and dimension.

Scientists familiar with this progression from simple parts to a complex system have never stopped contemplating embryonic development with a sense of muted wonder and a concomitant desire to replicate early development on top of a laboratory bench—both to understand the biology better and to translate the information into ways of repairing and replacing damaged tissues. Their time may have come. Recent successes in deciphering the intricacies of development have raised the prospect of replacement organs grown outside the body arriving in surgical suites within as little as 10 years.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content

It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Scientific American Mind Digital

Get 6 bi-monthly digital issues
+ 1yr of archive access for just $9.99

Hurry this offer ends soon! >


Email this Article


Next Article