Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Growing tissue in the lab
Name: mike s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
How do Scientists grow new tissue cells in the lab?



Replies:
I'm not quite sure what you mean by "new" cells. Several kinds of cell growing are done. One way is to break an organ or tissue apart into its individual cells and grow them in a medium of nutrients, controlled temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide/oxygen. This is called "primary culture" because the cells come right out of an organism. Another method is to create an "immortal cell line". This is a type of cell isolated from a cancerous tumor, or a non-tumor cell which is infected with a cancer gene after it's isolated. Being cancerous, these cells grow forever in a dish, with the appropriate nutrients etc as long as you remove cells from time to time to prevent overcrowding. These cells can be frozen at about -100F forever and rethawed when needed. There is a library of frozen cells, thousands of types, and a catalog. Scientists can order what they need any time! Finally, you can make specific mutant cell lines by starting as above with an immortal cell, and inserting a specific gene (or deleting one) permanently from the DNA of the cell to change almost any property you want. So there it is.

--ProfBill



Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory