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Growth of body organs possible in the laboratories: NIO Foundation Day lecture
Can cells like those in muscle tissues, eyes, liver, etc., make respective tissues and/or organs? Prof. D. Balasubramanian, Director of Research, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad in his NIO Foundation Day lecture "Cells and Stem Cells" asserted that is is possible and is
already being done! He said that the cells of bone marrow from an anaemic patient could be extracted, cultivated in a laboratory and again injected to the same patient to recover from anaemia. He also showed a film on how the cells of cornea and conjunctiva of an eye are cultured from and transplanted back in to the patients to regain partial to full vision.
In an interesting lecture, he explained basics of the cell science and then moved to higher animal life forms to enlighten the audience on experiments that are so common today – test tube babies - and how they are helped to be born using In-vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques. He also highlighted the steps followed by scientists in making the now famous Dolly. They harvested the DNA from a non-embryonic cell of one lamb and inserted it into an emptied egg/ovum of another lamb and grew this 'fertilized' egg in yet another sheep to give a birth to a lamb then named Dolly.
There was also an interesting discussion on 'where the life begins?' during the lecture. The lecture ended with many questions from the enthusiasts in the audience.
In the forenoon of the NIO Foundation Day, Prof. Balasubramanian also conducted a workshop on the "Art and craft of popular science writing". Over 30 participants from within NIO and outside NIO participated in the workshop and learnt the basics of popular science and its need in public understanding of science.
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