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New algorithm to grow human limbs and organs


An international team of researchers has designed a new computer code model or algorithm that may one day help scientists program stem cells to become any cell in the human body.

There is an existing method developed by Shinya Yamanaka, which can program stem cells to become certain cells, but it takes a long time and it is not always accurate.

The new algorithm, called Morgify, will take the chance of errors out of the equation and will be able to program stem cells to become any limb or organ cell. The researchers hope to be able to reprogram defective cells into healthy cells in the near future.

Morgify will act as a “world atlas” for cells and allow scientists to map out new territories for cell conversion in humans. The algorithm uses a database of over 300 human cell and tissue types. Using these, it is able to predict the optimal set of cellular factors that will be required for a particular cell conversion. The code has been made available to researchers around the world working with stem cells and should become even more accurate as further data is fed into it.

One of the researchers on the team, Enrico Pettretto from Duke-NUS, said that the development was “game-changing.”

For such treatment to be successful the stem cells must be a perfect match. There is no better match than your own stem cells and these can be harvested young from a naturally shed baby tooth and then stored until the time they are needed.

If the treatment uses stem cells that were harvested and stored from their baby teeth, the recipient will not need to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their life.