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Who was Henrietta Lacks? She was a black tobacco farmer from southern Virginia who got cervical cancer when she was 30. A doctor at Johns Hopkins took a piece of her tumor without telling her and sent it down the hall to scientists there who had been trying to grow tissues in culture for decades without success. No one knows why, but her cells never died. Why are her cells so important? Henrietta’s cells were the first immortal human cells ever grown in culture. They were essential to developing the polio vaccine.
They went up in the first space missions to see what would happen to cells in zero gravity. Many scientific landmarks since then have used her cells, including cloning, gene mapping and in vitro fertilization. There has been a lot of confusion over the years about the source of HeLa cells. Why? When the cells were taken, they were given the code name HeLa, for the first two letters in Henrietta and Lacks.
Today, anonymizing samples is a very important part of doing research on cells. But that wasn’t something doctors worried about much in the 1950s, so they weren’t terribly careful about her identity. When some members of the press got close to finding Henrietta’s family, the researcher who’d grown the cells made up a pseudonym—Helen Lane—to throw the media off track. Other pseudonyms, like Helen Larsen, eventually showed up, too. Her real name didn’t really leak out into the world until the 1970s.
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A scientist's announcement Friday that her group had produced the first cloned human being triggered skepticism from researchers, condemnation from some religious groups and a federal investigation. The 7-pound baby was born Thursday by Caesarean section and will be home in three days, said Brigitte Boisselier, a chemist and CEO of Clonaid, the company that did the experiment. She wouldn't say where the baby was born; she did say the birth was at 11:55 a.m. local time.
Boisselier said the baby, dubbed "Eve" by the scientists, is a clone of a 31-year-old American woman and was born outside the United States, but wouldn't specify where.
originally posted by: Atsbhct
a reply to: blindprometheus
Hmm...I think this was actually an X Files episode
originally posted by: JimNasium
a reply to: abeverage
HELA cells are the cells from HEnrietta LAcks. There is a movie starring Oprah Winfrey about Henrietta Lacks on HBO™