Human Stem Cells Cure Mutated Mice

Researchers are intelligently designing techniques to combat mutations that cause neurological disorders. If evolution works according to the standard neo-Darwinian model of time + selection + mutation, then why are we interfering with the process? Shouldn’t we let evolution run its course? Perhaps these diseased individuals would grow a new organ or something, and become the next step in our naturally upward progression from hydrogen to human and beyond.

It seems that such evolutionary philosophy becomes practically unlivable. Rather than let ”evolution” take its course, researchers are thankfully taking steps to remedy mutations’ harmful effects.

Nature News reported on June 41 the successful treatment of mice that are born with a mutation that prevents myelin from forming around their nerve cells. Without myelin, the mice live tortured, short lives. Myelin-related disorders in humans include multiple sclerosis and adrenoleukodystrophy. The lead researcher of the study, Stephen Goldman from the University of Rochester in New York, described these as “awful, awful diseases.”

His treatment involved injecting human nervous tissue stem cells into the spinal cords of newborn mice. Untreated mice with this mutation typically died young, but some of the treated mice grew myelin and were normalizing as they developed. The successful stem cells were harvested not from human embryos, but from human adults.

As always, the mutation in these mice represents a loss of valuable genetic information. It is this very loss that these researchers are seeking to restore with stem cell treatments. Does anybody else find it ironic that biomedical researchers are pouring their lives into reversing the effects of mutations, after having been taught in our universities and medical schools that mutations are the essential engines of evolution? Perhaps time + selection + mutation isn’t such a good formula after all.

Reference

1. Sanderson, K. Human cells used to cure brain disease in mice. Nature News. Posted on nature.com June 4, 2008, accessed June 6, 2008.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.

Article posted on June 12, 2008.

The Latest
NEWS
"Ancient" Fossil Still Has Hagfish Slime Residue
Hagfish look creepy. They can act creepy, too. Having no bones, they tie themselves into sliding figure eight knots that help them tear mouthfuls of...

CREATION PODCAST
What Do We Do With Darwin Day?
Many secularist and humanist organizations celebrate February 12 as Darwin Day, a day set aside to honor Charles Darwin and his legacy. But is Darwinism...

NEWS
Meteorite Impact Observed During Lunar Eclipse
On January 21, 2019, during a total lunar eclipse, astronomers and amateur stargazers alike saw a small meteorite strike the lunar surface.1 The collision...

NEWS
Revealing Our Fossil Wall
It was an exciting week here at ICR as we watched workers carefully mount nine fossil replicas to the Discovery Center’s exterior wall. Each 12ˈ×12ˈ...

NEWS
Red Algae Lazarus Effect Can't Resurrect Evolution
Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. and Timothy L. Clarey, Ph.D. Red algae form one of the main components of coral reefs and were originally thought to have...