The Allen Institute for Cell Science has been busy! Two new resources are now available for everyone to explore cells. Here is what the Institute says about their new offerings.
The Allen Integrated Cell summarizes a large collection of live human stem cells, gene edited by Allen Institute scientists to incorporate fluorescent protein tags. By allowing researchers around the world to see many structures inside a living cell together at the same time, the Allen Integrated Cell provides a baseline for understanding cells, studying human disease models, and identifying pathologies.
To see something really amazing, take a look at these videos that show gene edited stem cells that differentiated into cardiomyocytes. Stem cells are cells that have potential to become into many different types of cells. In this project, the researchers use special conditions that ultimately allow the cells to contract like a heart beating!
Rolling out alongside the Allen Integrated Cell is the Visual Guide to Human Cells: an online interactive overview of human cell structure and function. Users can explore how cells change throughout phases of the cell cycle.
I took a look at both these webpages and wow! there is a lot of great information there. Don’t expect to click in and out in 5 minutes if you want to see their breadth. The researchers at the Institute use two different models—a probabilistic model to give the most likely location of all the organelles in a cell, and a deterministic model that uses a database of fluorescence-tagged protein data to build a view of all the organelles in an unlabeled bright-field image. It is fascinating to click through the cell cycle and see how organelles arrange themselves in the different phases.
What a great teaching tool to help textbooks come to life!