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May 9, 2011 /  Nivea

A self-assembling retina

Unlike the eye of mollusks, the vertebrate eye is oriented upside down. Light-sensitive cells—the rods and cones—are located in the outermost layer of the neurosensory retina, furthest from the eye chamber and the incoming light. The inner retinal layers, closest to the light, contain the interneurons and ganglia that transmit optical signals to the brain, on the far side of the photoreceptor layer. In a new study that marks an exciting advance in the use of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to mimic development, this distinctive retinal structure has now been shown to emerge spontaneously in vitro starting with little more than mouse ESCs, the growth factor activin/nodal and a bit of extracellular matrix.

via A self-assembling retina

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