Building the body electric

Eyes can be grown in a frog’s gut by changing cells’ electrical properties

By Tina Hesman Saey, 13:31 PM December 7, 2011

Scientists have created a tadpole that can literally watch what it eats: The tadpole has an eye growing in its gut.

Led by developmental biologist Michael Levin of Tufts University in Medford, Mass., the researchers manipulated cells in the tadpole’s gut to take on a specific electrical state. Those cells developed into a fully formed eye. Inducing just the right electrical state in cells can lead to eye growth anywhere on the body, the team reports online December 7 in Development.


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