10 Mutant and Genetically Modified Organisms

Vacanti Mouse

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The Vacanti mouse was a laboratory mouse that had what looked like a human ear grown on its back. The “ear” was actually an ear-shaped cartilage structure grown by seeding cow cartilage cells into a biodegradable ear-shaped mold. The earmouse, as it became known as, was created by Dr. Charles Vacanti, at the University of Massachusetts in 1995. Created to demonstrate a method of fabricating cartilage structures for transplantation into human patients, a resorbable polyester fabric was infiltrated with bovine cartilage cells and implanted under the skin of a hairless mouse. The mouse itself was a commonly used strain of immunocompromised mouse, preventing a transplant rejection