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Scientists Grow a Living Human Ear on a Rat

(Photo: University of Tokyo and Kyoto University)

People may lose their ears in accidents or are born with disfigured ears. For these unfortunates, there’s a new hope: artificially-grown ears. Scientists at the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University took human cells and grew them in an ear-like shape with a mold. This ear form was then implanted on the back of a living rat and left to grow, nourished by the rat’s body, for 2 months. The result is a living human ear measuring about 2 inches long. Discovery reports on the development of tissue engineering:

So-called tissue engineering is being explored to grow other kinds of body parts, too, including noses and windpipes.

The Japanese researchers say because their ear is a living part, it would develop as a child grew.

They hope to start clinical trials in about five years.

-via Dave Barry


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When they transplant the ear back onto a human, will that person have to shave their ear all the time?
This would, however, be great for surgical cosplay. Using your own cells, grow pointed ear extensions with tufts of fur on the tips, and then have them implanted on your own ears!
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