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The Boston Globe

Business

Quest to build a heart gets lift from jellyfish

Scientists’ pseudo-organism may held build real organs

In their quest to build a beating heart from scratch, Harvard University researchers looked to the sea for inspiration, building a tiny swimming “jellyfish” out of rat heart cells and a thin, jellyfish-shaped polymer film.

The real jellyfish, a simple aquatic creature buffeted by ocean currents, may seem a world away from the human heart, but researchers found that the repetitive pulsations jellyfish use to swim through salt water­ are similar to the way the heart pumps blood through the human body.

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