Scientists Created an Artificial Fish From Human Cells

Human heart cells were used to create an artificial fish that can swim independently, a step towards creating a more complex artificial muscular pump.

The researchers at Harvard University created a “biohybrid” fish by lining its tail fins with human heart muscles derived from stem cells, as reported by Vice News. This led them to discover that the cells contracted, which in turn caused the tail to pull in the same direction, resulting in a stretch on the other side of the fin that in turn caused another contraction, which caused the tail to pull in the opposite direction.

It was discovered by the researchers in the journal Science that the back and forth motion of muscle contractions enabled the faux-fish to swim with “the same motion as a beating heart” for an incredible 108 days, which is the equivalent of 38 million heartbeats, demonstrating that scientists can construct an extremely long-lasting muscular pump using human stem cell-derived cardiac muscles.

In a statement, Kit Parker, a professor of bioengineering and applied physics at Harvard University, said, “Our muscular bilayer construct is the first to demonstrate that the mechanoelectrical signalling of [cardiomyocytes] can induce self-sustaining muscle excitations and contractions for extended periods.” Parker was referring to the longer duration of movement demonstrated by the fish.

The robotic fish experiment represents a significant step forward in cardiovascular research because it provided a platform for the study of cardiovascular physiology and heart diseases such as arrhythmias, among other things. Researchers hope to one day use the findings of the study to advance pacemaker technology or even build an artificial heart for transplantation, but this will only be possible after additional research has been conducted on the subject.

Human biology is frequently the subject of scientific studies as researchers look for better ways to develop solutions that will improve people’s lives. One study looked into how people’s brains react when they watch movies, while another resulted in the development of a tool that uses light to achieve mind control. It was also discovered by researchers in the same field that it was possible to restore some brain function to dead pigs.