Researchers have used elastic silicone and rat muscle cells to create a freely swimming jellyfish.
Colorized image of the tissue-engineered jellyfish, "swimming" in a container of ocean-like saltwater. Dubbed "Medusoid," the bioengineered construct is made from silicone rubber and powered by lab-grown heart tissue. It was built in a proof-of-concept study at Caltech and Harvard for designing muscular pumps for biomedical applications. (Credit: Caltech and Harvard)
“A big goal of our study was to advance tissue engineering,” says Janna Nawroth, a doctoral student in biology at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech)and lead author of the study. “In many ways, it is still a very qualitative art, with people trying to copy a tissue or organ just based on what they think is important or what they see as the major components—without necessarily understanding if those components are relevant to the desired function or without analyzing first how different materials could be used.”